Nurses Week Shines Light on Rewarding, In-Demand Careers

by | May 6, 2024 | Brothers of Mercy, Centennial Celebration

Health care organizations commemorate National Nurses Week from May 6-12 to recognize the expertise, dedication and invaluable contributions of the five million registered nurses in the United States. May 6 is Nurses Day and May 12 honors the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.

The American Nursing Association selected this year’s theme as “Nurses Make the Difference” to celebrate the varying roles of nurses and their positive impact on our lives. Nurses always make a difference as trusted advocates who ensure individuals, families and communities receive quality care and services.

The goal of officially recognizing nurses took 40 years to achieve, beginning in 1953 when Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare proposed a National Nurse’s Day to the White House. In 1974, the International Council of Nurses proclaimed May 12 as International Nurse Day, and it wasn’t until 1993 that National Nurses Week became a permanent designation in the United States.

In Western New York, there are 20,000 registered nurses, 5,000 licensed practical nurses and 2,000 nurse practitioners. During my 41 years as a nurse, I have experienced many changes in regulations, technology and staffing ratios. Even through the difficult times our industry has faced, nothing ever diminishes the pride and focus I bring to work every day to deliver the best possible care.

Another important part of my role as a Director of Nursing is leading a department of talented nurses and aides that are gaining valuable experience as they expand their knowledge and skills. I enjoy mentoring and guiding younger nurses as they navigate challenges through various stages of their career as they determine the specialty that they are passionate about.

Nursing is a wonderful career choice for young people aspiring to remain in Western New York and embrace community leadership and improving quality of life for all ages. I invite high school and college students who are unsure of their specific ambitions to consider the rewarding, productive and in-demand calling of a career in nursing. Salaries and benefits are very competitive among small and large health care providers, and you can often find flexible scheduling for a satisfying work-life balance.

Even with the pandemic in our rearview mirror, staffing shortages remain challenging for elder care facilities to meet the needs of patients. Our aging good neighbors really need more nurses from the next generation to provide the same exceptional care that they will one day expect to find at physician and specialist practices, hospitals and senior care facilities.

With a few years left in my career, I look forward to continuing the great collaboration with my fellow nurses as we embrace our devotion to nursing and caring for others. I salute and thank all nurses across the Buffalo-Niagara Region; you deserve all the recognition you receive during Nurses Week and throughout your remaining active years on duty.

Shari Kersch, RN, is the Director of Nursing at The Brothers of Mercy Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.