'Hero' appropriate label for those who wear nurse's uniform

Monday, May 7, 2018

It’s easy for modern, 24-hour news outlets to apply superlatives like “hero” to a wide range of characters, deserving or not.

We’re more inclined to go along when the person involved is on the front line of any conflict — soldiers, police, first responders — jobs that require training and dedication far above standards most of us have to meet for our occupations.

Doctors tend to get the glory when it comes to medical care, but they’ll be the first to tell you that it’s nurses on the front lines who make all the difference.

Lystra E. Gretty and a committee for the Farrand training School for Nurses in Detroit composed a modified “Hippocratic Oath” for nurses, calling it the Florence Nightingale Pledge in honor of the founder of modern nursing:

“I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physicians in his work and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

National Nurses Week is this week, concluding on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Nebraska’s 23,000 registered nurses do OK by national standards, earning $62,000 a year on average in a state ranked as the 17th best state for nurses by the WalletHub financial website.

And, for the 17th consecutive year, Gallup polling has shown nursing as the top profession for honesty and ethics.

“I think sometimes people think that nurses are easily replaced by folks without licenses,” said Ann Oertwich, executive director of the Nebraska Board of Nursing. “And the education and training that goes into being a nurse is above and beyond, and provides so much more than nurses are often given credit for.

Clinics, nursing homes, dental and specialists’ offices around the nation would grind to a halt without the skill and dedication of nurses.

Anyone who has spent much time in a hospital, worrying about an injured child, waiting for test results, healing enough from a major surgery to be able to go home, or holding a loved-one’s hand in the final minutes of life, knows how important a role a nurse can play.

Hero? Yes, for someone wearing a nurse’s uniform, at any given time, it’s a label that’s entirely appropriate.

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