As we approach Nurses Week, May 6-12, I must acknowledge an additional level of meaning to the week, as more than ever before, nurses have battled the global pandemic for the past year. The week is an annual celebration to honor all nurses for their dedication and commitment to the communities they serve and a chance for us all to show our gratitude. It is hard to put into words the amount of gratitude I have for the nursing teams at Fawcett Memorial Hospital. I know this past year has been one of the most challenging years of their lives.

My favorite quote comes to mind as I reflect on the past year. Author, Sejal Badani, wrote “Heroes are not born or created. They become so in the passing moments of life. When something or someone demands you be more than you have been, when you must put aside your own needs and what is best for you to fight for another, no matter the cost.”

Nurses are truly heroes. They have worked tirelessly to help and heal others. They have an ability to adapt and push beyond their own fears to care for their patients. They are with patients and loved ones during their darkest moments while giving hope and compassion.

To the nursing heroes at Fawcett Memorial Hospital and to all of the nurses in our communities, I thank you for your sacrifice, bravery, commitment and selflessness. I have heard and witnessed countless stories of you holding hands of patients passing and letting them know they are not alone. I have heard and witnessed even more stories of you taking care of each other. I have seen you be a part of tremendous recoveries and restoring a better quality of life for your patients. Our communities needed you, and you were there without hesitation.

I encourage you to reach out to a nurse this week to show your gratitude. A simple thank you goes a long way and can give a boost of strength and a smile. I continue to be humbled and proud of my team in their caring for each other, our patients, and our community. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for always living our mission — above all else, we are committed to the care and improvement of human life.

Stormy Dulovich is the chief nursing officer at Fawcett Memorial Hospital.

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