As nurses, we have many accomplishments to celebrate. Just consider the progress that has occurred since Florence Nightingale set the foundations for nursing as an art and science in the 19th
century. Following Florence’s example, nurses have built upon data collection, documenting evidence, and dissemination of knowledge to advance nursing as a profession. During the late 19th
century, nursing textbooks were published in America to educate nurses in hospital-based schools of nursing. The procedures and nursing interventions in those texts were primarily based on the observations and experiences of a few nurses rather than rigorous research methods that developed in the 20th
century. If you have some free time, you may want to peruse the early nursing textbooks that are in the digital archives at the National Library of Medicine to appreciate the progress we have made.
The Future of Nursing Report
published by the Institute of Medicine in 2010 helped to accelerate the progress nurses have made by addressing areas of concern. Notable advancements include: the growth of nurses with doctoral degrees; a higher percentage of nurses with bachelor’s degrees; increasing ethnic diversity; and increased participation of nurses on community, healthcare, and other boards. These advancements don’t only benefit nurses as a profession, but also result in improvements in the quality of health care delivery because nurses are better educated and can take leadership roles and influence health care policy and decision-making.
One organization that is responsible for routinely promoting nursing excellence and celebrating the achievements of nurses is the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
. ANCC, the largest nursing certifying organization, supports professional progress of individual nurses’ who earn board certification. On a larger scale, ANCC encourages the advancement of nursing practice, nursing science, and nursing care quality by granting the Magnet, Pathway to Excellence, and the Premier CNE Provider Awards. These highly sought-after recognition programs create a culture of continuous improvement that result in progress in nursing that we see at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.
This National Nurses Week, we celebrate nursing progress, but also reflect on how you can contribute to the ongoing progress of the nursing profession. Happy Nurses Week!