12 hospital executives' thank-you notes to nurses

In honor of National Nurses Month and National Nurses Week (May 6-12), hospitals and health systems are recognizing the difference nurses make in their organizations. 

The American Nurses Association's theme of National Nurses Week, "Nurses Make the Difference," highlights nursing excellence and how nurses embody the spirit of compassion and care in every healthcare setting.

Here are two ways nurses show excellence and commitment to care:

1. Nurses walk an average of four miles during a 12-hour shift, according to studies cited by NurseTogether.

2. For more than two decades, nursing has been rated at the top of the list of the "most honest and ethical professions" in the country, according to Gallup.

Becker's collected messages of appreciation from hospital and health system leaders across the U.S. 

Editor's note: Responses have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

Christie Dawson, MSN, RN. Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Memorial Hermann Cypress Hospital (Houston): In celebration of Nurses Month, I want to take a moment to honor the dedicated team at Memorial Hermann Cypress. Recognized consistently as the most honest and ethical profession, these nurses exemplify these qualities each day. It is my privilege to work with these incredible nurses every day. Their hard work is evident in everything they do, from the miles they walk to the comfort they provide. They are truly the backbone of health in our community. Their passion for nursing not only inspires their colleagues but also makes a profound impact on the lives of patients and their families. Thank you to this remarkable team for everything they do. It is a privilege to acknowledge their commitment and celebrate their invaluable contributions.

Meredith Foxx, MSN, APRN. Executive Chief Nursing Officer at Cleveland Clinic: During this year's National Nurses Week, I want to thank every nurse and nursing caregiver at Cleveland Clinic. No matter your specialty, each one of you plays an essential role in helping us provide the highest-quality care to our patients. I watch in awe as your empathy, skill and unwavering dedication to the professional practice of nursing makes a positive impact in the lives of those around you. I am honored to recognize each of you for the expert, compassionate care you provide every day. Nursing is — and always will be — the most humbling, meaningful and rewarding of any profession. To be a nurse isn't what you do, It's who you are. This week and always, we celebrate the powerful role you play as a nurse and all you do for our patients, organization, community and each other. 

Wendi Goodson-Celerin, DNP, RN. Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive at Tampa (Fla.) General Hospital: In honor of National Nurses Week, it is my tremendous privilege to express my deepest gratitude to you, my nursing colleagues, for all that you do to make a difference every day in the lives of your patients and their families and the communities that you serve. In this most trusted profession, you serve as a beacon of hope and a source of comfort. You are the backbone of healthcare as you use your skills and knowledge to practice at the highest level of nursing. You put patients first by advocating for them, understanding them, listening to them and treating each individual in your care with compassion. Your incredible and tireless efforts, especially during the most challenging times, deserve the utmost respect and admiration. For all this and so much more, I cannot thank you enough. I'm so proud to call the millions of nurses around the country my colleagues.

Jennifer Higgins, DNP, RN. Chief Nursing Officer at  Lee Health (Fort Myers, Fla.): I want to take a moment to give a big, heartfelt thank you to all the incredible nurses throughout the Lee Health system. Thank you for being on the front lines of care and going above and beyond every day to provide compassionate, thoughtful patient care. You always put our patients first and provide an empathetic ear and a healing touch and are often a support system for our patients' friends and families. You make a real difference in people's lives every day, and that does not go unnoticed. Lee Health is lucky to have you, and so is our Southwest Florida community. We've faced some challenges in the past few years, but it's our teamwork, dedication to care and community, and love for what we do that have made us stronger than ever.

Beth Leahey, MSN, RN. Chief Nursing Officer at Roxborough Memorial Hospital (Philadelphia): I am filled with gratitude and pride to be part of a team of dedicated healthcare professionals. Nurses are essential in providing continuous care, serving as caregivers, educators, advocates, leaders and much more. I am honored to be a nurse and excited to see the impact we will continue to make in the future.

Tiffany Murdock, DNP, RN. Vice President and System Chief Nursing Officer at Ochsner Health (New Orleans): I want to express my deepest gratitude and appreciation for the incredible work that you do every day for our profession, our patients and our communities. As one of over 10,000 nurses at Ochsner Health, you play an invaluable role in providing exceptional care and making a positive impact in countless lives. Each day, you selflessly comfort, heal and support those in need. Your efforts do not go unnoticed, and they make a world of difference to patients and their families during some of the most challenging times in their lives. You not only provide compassionate care, but you also take the time to connect with your patients on a personal level and use your voice to evolve our practice at Ochsner and beyond. Your kindness and empathy are qualities that truly set you apart. Thank you for living your purpose, not just today, but every day. I am grateful for the impact you make for our future and the lives of so many, including mine.

Scott Nygaard, MD. COO of Lee Health (Fort Myers, Fla.): Nurses are critical to healthcare delivery. The men and women serving our community at Lee Health do lifesaving work every day. I personally have tremendous respect and gratitude for work and leadership you provide to our community. The nurses of our health system give their all to the health and well-being of their patients and families each and every day. Despite all the challenges, the dedication of our nurses is unwavering. Thank you to our nurses for their commitment to excellence in the care of Lee Health patients, families and team members. We could not accomplish our mission without you. 

Stacey-Ann Okoth, PhD, DNP, RN. Senior Vice President and Associate Chief Nursing Executive at Jefferson Health System (Philadelphia): I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for the incredible dedication and compassion you bring to our profession every single day. Your selflessness and unwavering commitment to caring for our patients inspire me beyond words. I know firsthand the sacrifices you make, putting our personal lives on hold to answer the call of duty. It's not easy, but knowing that we're making a difference in the lives of those who need us most makes it all worth it. I'm endlessly grateful that you provide the most valuable care for our patients at their most vulnerable moments. Your kindness, empathy, and expertise make a world of difference, and I'm honored to stand beside you in this noble profession. Thank you for your tireless efforts, your boundless compassion and your unwavering dedication. Together, we make a difference that truly matters. 

Bryan Sisk, DNP, RN. Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Executive at Memorial Hermann Health System (Houston): To our dedicated nurses at Memorial Hermann, your tireless commitment to excellence is evident in every aspect of your work. From nurturing future generations in our community to spearheading innovative practices through the Memorial Hermann Institute for Nursing Excellence, your contributions are invaluable. Thank you for continuously setting the standard for nursing excellence at our institution and beyond and for your dedication to patient care and professional development. Your efforts are the foundation of our success.

Susan Stone, PhD, RN. Senior Vice President of Health System Operations and System Chief Nursing Executive at Sharp HealthCare (San Diego): In celebration of National Nurses Week, it is an honor to recognize the nearly 7,000 Sharp HealthCare nurses who have dedicated their lives to advancing The Sharp Experience as we strive to be the best place to work, practice medicine and receive care. The profession of nursing continues to rank by Gallup as one of the most trusted professions and we are grateful [for] nursing's ongoing care, compassion, grace and professionalism. During the most vulnerable times of life, we know, nurses lean in and work hard to create a healing environment for our patients and families. This work has been recognized by Press Ganey, Healthgrades and MIT's Glassdoor Study as amongst the best in the country. As we continue to optimize, innovate and leverage technology in our care, we know the journey is not always easy. With nurses at the heart of healthcare, we will create a better future for everyone. On behalf of all our Sharp HealthCare leadership team, we are so very proud of you and thank you for your commitment and dedication.

Karen Strauman, DNP. Chief Nursing Officer of Hennepin Healthcare (Minneapolis): In an era where the nursing workforce is under significant strain, we cannot stress enough what an integral part they are to the healthcare team. Our nurses are highly skilled, compassionate professionals who demonstrate an unyielding determination to excellence — even when facing challenging circumstances. Whether providing direct or virtual patient care, supervising or managing, they perform their jobs with integrity and professionalism, making a difference not only in the lives of their patients, but also their team members who have the privilege of working alongside them.

During National Nurses Week and the other 51 weeks of the year, we appreciate our nursing colleagues and thank them for improving the health and lives of our patients. 

Warner Thomas. President and CEO at Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.): There are no better employees anywhere in healthcare than right here at Sutter Health. And, as we celebrate both National Nurses and Hospital weeks this month, I want to say an extra thank you! These may be two simple words, but the pride and appreciation I feel for what you do every day is immense.  All of you — physicians, nurses, care teams and support staff — make it possible for us to deliver outstanding care to our patients and communities as we continue to grow and evolve in ways to make that care easier to access and navigate.

As people who choose to work in healthcare, you are special. You give so much of yourselves to those you serve, and that's why we are creating an inclusive environment and structure at Sutter Health to make you feel valued, energized, and safe. You are the secret sauce to the unparalleled impact we have on healthcare and beyond and we're so grateful you are all in for #TeamSutter!

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