18 hospital execs write thank-you notes to nurses

National Nurses Week, held May 6-12, is a time to show appreciation for nurses and recognize the crucial role they play in healthcare. 

While nurses are celebrated the entire month of May for their contributions to the industry, this week focuses on the theme of "Nurses Make a Difference." 

In honor of National Nurses Week, hospital executives at 18 systems wrote thank-you notes to these caregivers:

Anna Kiger, DNP, RN. Chief Nursing Officer of Sutter Health (Sacramento, Calif.): National Nurses Week provides us the opportunity to say thank you to nurses everywhere who are working day and night on behalf of patients and their families.

The last two pandemic years have proven that excellent nursing is the foundation of healthcare. Nurses are a force of good who advocate for what is right for our patients, their families and the communities we serve. Nurses are a steady force during life’s most vulnerable moments. They honor the holistic needs of those in their care and find evidence-based ways to promote health and healing.  

Happy Nurses Week and thank you for your dedication to a noble career that stands the test of time and continues to earn the trust of our patients.

Beth Oliver, DNP, RN. Chief Nurse Executive and Senior Vice President of Cardiac Services at Mount Sinai Health System (New York City): National Nurses Week is a time set aside to honor the nursing community for its tremendous contributions to our healthcare system and beyond. Not only do nurses provide care to billions of people around the world; you contribute well beyond healthcare systems to the communities where we all live, worship and serve. Your leadership and innovative mindset make nurses vital to moving healthcare forward. Nurses make a difference. I, along with my colleagues across the Mount Sinai Health System, take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude to you for the incredible work that you do for our patients and our community and celebrate each of your well-deserved successes. Happy Nurses Week!

Cathy Duquette, PhD, RN. Chief Nursing Executive and Executive Vice President of Quality and Safety of Lifespan (Providence, R.I.): Nurses come to work every day to take care of patients, despite the risks and unknowns. They are dedicated to their profession, committed to their team and strong for those in need. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their sacrifice and service, as they are truly healers and heroes.

Gail Vozzella, MSN, RN. Senior Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive, Houston Methodist Hospital: Florence Nightingale once said, "For the sick, it is important to have the best." Houston Methodist nurses have given our patients their best for more than 100 years. These past two years, nurses have faced new challenges as a result of the pandemic, including volatility in staff turnover, significantly increased patient volume and uncertainty resulting from the potential magnitude of future pandemic surges. Regardless of these new (and existing) challenges, our nurses continued to offer the same exceptional care to every patient. The Houston Methodist executive nursing leadership team is grateful to our nurses who provide exemplary care on a daily basis. We celebrate your commitment to your patients, their families and your team members. You are appreciated!

Helen Staples-Evans, DNP, RN. Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer of Loma Linda (Calif.) University Health Hospitals: You make a difference, and you are, without a doubt, the backbone of the hospital. Despite many challenges, you've never wavered in your commitment to providing extraordinary care and never giving up on saving lives. If I wanted to select a group of people with a responsibility to make this world a better place, I would pick you every time. A nurse's job is often challenging, and the past year has been incredibly difficult continuing with the pandemic while weathering a major move into a new hospital. Nurses like you make Loma Linda University Health what it is today. Thank you for bringing your best to work every single day. You make a difference and are valued. In the words of the late playwright Thornton Wilder, "We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." Each of you is a unique treasure to our patients, their families and your co-workers. 

Jaewon Ryu, MD, CEO of Geisinger (Danville, Pa.): As we begin National Nurses’ Week, I want to give special thanks to all the nurses throughout our system, and across the country, who bring to patients that perfect blend of skill, dedication and compassion. As a nurse, you combine clinical expertise with empathy to care for people often in their most vulnerable moments.

Whether caring for our friends and neighbors in hospitals, clinics, our LIFE Geisinger centers, on our Life Flight helicopters — or even in the home or virtually — we’re able to provide top-notch care and do so compassionately because of you.

This has never been more apparent than with the exceptional challenges over these past few years. But the dedication and resilience of our nurses have inspired us. You’ve been there for patients. You’ve been there for each other. You’ve been there for the community. At each step, you've risen to the calling of taking care of others.

So, while we are always grateful for nurses, this week we say an extra thank you for everything you do to make better health easier for the communities we serve.

Juli Johnson, MSN, RN. Chief Nursing Executive of Parkview Health (Fort Wayne, Ind.): I am profoundly grateful to all our Parkview Health nursing colleagues for your professionalism, stamina, teamwork, compassion and flexibility during what has been a very long haul these past two-plus years.

I can't begin to imagine what all the pandemic has entailed for each of you. I know it has been tremendously difficult as well as mentally and physically exhausting. 

Your courage to keep moving forward every day has been amazing. Every single story I've heard about the large and small kindnesses you've shown our patients, their families and our co-workers has made me so incredibly proud of our nursing team. In a time of uncertainty and extraordinary change, Parkview nurses have stayed firmly committed to keeping our patients' best interests at the heart of everything we do.

It is an honor to celebrate you during this Nurses Week. As a skilled and dedicated nursing team member, you represent the best that Parkview offers to our community and our region. Thank you for being someone who stands up and says, "Yes, even in a pandemic, I will do everything I can to take excellent care of people when they are vulnerable and in need." 

I'm proud to be a Parkview nurse. I hope you are, too!

Karen Keady, PhD, RN. Vice President and Chief Nurse Executive at University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center: This National Nurses Month, and always, I remain incredibly proud and inspired by the amazing nursing staff at University of Rochester Medical Center. Healthcare delivery is a high-stakes environment, and having nurses who practice empathy and are skilled at vulnerability, resiliency and building intimate, personal relationships with patients is crucial to patient satisfaction and positive medical outcomes.

Never has this been more relevant than over the past two years as we battled the COVID-19 pandemic. Our nurses showed up in profound ways for our patients, for our community and for each other. What has inspired me most about the culture at URMC is the close-knit family atmosphere. We're there for each other and we listen to each other. New ideas, creativity and innovation are encouraged — a mindset that proved instrumental in enabling our nursing staff to quickly shift, pivot and adapt as the pandemic evolved. I know I would not have wanted to go through what has become the greatest healthcare challenge of our generation with any other team. Nurses at URMC, and everywhere: Thank you for all that you do!

Kathleen Sanford, BSN, RN. Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of CommonSpirit Health (Chicago): Thank you to our 45,000 CommonSpirit Health nurses who provide hope, healing and humankindness through their work in communities across America, and to all the dedicated and hardworking nurses caring for patients around the globe. The value you deliver in every aspect of healthcare is irreplaceable. We are appreciative of the many roles you play to deliver outstanding care to patients and their families, all while being first-rate colleagues to each other and your extended care teams. It's an honor and privilege to celebrate you every day and especially during Nurses Week.

Kevin Browne, DNP, RN. Chief Nurse Executive and Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services of St. Joseph's Health (Paterson, N.J.): This week, St Joseph's Health joins the world in celebrating its nurses. 

As Martha Rogers once said "Nursing's story is a magnificent epic of service to mankind. It is about people: how they are born, and live and die; in health and in sickness; in joy and in sorrow. Its mission is the translation of knowledge into human service."

At St Joseph's Health, nurses insert themselves into the healthcare stories of patients each and every day. Through human-to-human connectedness, they are instruments of healing, always striving to restore their patients to wellness. On behalf of St Joseph's Health, I thank our nurses for living our values, remaining committed to our mission and going above and beyond to minister human caring to society's most vulnerable.

Laura Forese, MD. Executive Vice President and COO of NewYork-Presbyterian (New York City): While National Nurses Week officially starts Monday, May 9, nurses should be celebrated every single day, not just one week out of the year. Nurses are truly the backbone of healthcare.

There are over 11,000 nurses across the NewYork-Presbyterian system who all work tirelessly and wear many hats and roles. They support our healthcare providers, our patients, administration, staff and everyone in between. Without their dedication and support, we would not be able to provide best-in-class care.

Our nurses make us not only better at our job, but better humans. The humanity, humility and compassion they possess is remarkable. I know I speak on behalf of everyone across our organization when we express how grateful we are for every one of you.

On behalf of our leadership team, we send our deepest thanks to the nursing community. We couldn't do any of this without you and are honored that you have made NewYork-Presbyterian your home. Happy Nurses Week!

Mark Larmore and Andrew Thomas, MD. Interim Co-Leaders of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (Columbus): Nurses embody an admirable commitment to both the art and science of healthcare. They are compassionate caregivers, offering genuine support to patients and families. At the same time, their knowledge and evidence-based clinical training affords them critical responsibilities and opportunities. At the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, our exceptional nursing community supports the research, teaching and patient-centered care missions of academic medicine. Our nurses are valued partners in our interdisciplinary patient care teams, in teaching the next generation professionals, and in driving discovery in the lab, at the bedside and for the communities we serve. We're continually impressed by their strength and courage as much as their expertise. On behalf of Ohio State, we're profoundly grateful for and inspired by the many ways in which nurses promote health and healing.

Meredith Foxx, MSN, APRN. Executive Chief Nursing Officer, Cleveland Clinic: To me, there is no better profession than nursing. The heart and soul of nursing has never changed. Nursing is — and always will be — the most humbling, meaningful and rewarding of any profession. As I have been saying my entire career, to be a nurse isn’t what you do; it’s who you are. I truly believe a nurse is not what I do, but who I am.

 As nurses, we selflessly put the needs of others before our own. We provide care with the utmost compassion and empathy. We mitigate suffering, and you positively make a difference in the lives of those you serve.

Everything we do is rooted in excellence. We are leading through change.

As we celebrate Nurses Week, I offer my sincerest gratitude to all nurses who are delivering high-quality, safe care, who are critically thinking every day, every minute, every second, to ensure their patients are safe. To the nurse leaders who are leading with courage, conviction, compassion and grace, thank you for your dedication and incredible teamwork.

Pete McCanna. CEO of Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas): To all nurses, to those who are the face of healthcare for so many, know that on this day and every day we stand with you.

Nurses have inspired me throughout my life. My mother and my wife both felt the calling, and I have been privileged to work alongside many incredible nurses in my career. Their unwavering commitment makes a difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities across the country.

National Nurses Week honors your invaluable contributions and the essential role nursing plays in the health of our nation. Thank you for your sacrifice and resilience in the face of COVID-19. These past two years have only underscored your vital role as communicators and caregivers, consolers and collaborators. Your calling and talents intersect to ensure every patient is heard and well cared for along their healthcare journey.

Richard Lofgren, MD. President and CEO of OU Health (Oklahoma City): National Nurses Week is a great opportunity to honor our nurses and recognize their sacrifices and dedication to our patients. We know that words cannot truly reflect our appreciation of these unsung heroes. Nursing is the absolute cornerstone of direct patient care. The connections nurses make with patients and families are the foundation of a positive patient experience. At OU Health, we are keenly aware that quality patient care demands the combination of professional knowledge, skill and compassion unique to nursing.

We continue to invest in our nursing workforce at OU Health, doing everything we can to attract the very best nurses to our team and ensuring they have the right tools and environment to bring their best to our patients.

As the flagship academic health system in Oklahoma, Oklahoma's most complex and ill patients come to OU Health for access to care unavailable elsewhere in the state or region. While we stand in awe of, and express our gratitude toward, each and every nurse who has dedicated his or her life to the mission of care, our nurses' dedication to our academic health promise inspires our entire team and reinforces our unique role in Oklahoma.  

Thank you, nurses, for your service.

Sammie Mosier, BSN. Senior Vice president and Chief Nurse Executive of HCA Healthcare (Nashville, Tenn.): As I reflect on the past year, I am inspired by and grateful for the ways nurses have shown up to care for all of us in the face of remarkable circumstances. Your commitment to patients and each other has been unwavering and truly extraordinary despite the pandemic, staffing shortages and other industrywide challenges.

At HCA Healthcare, I have the privilege of leading nursing practice for our 93,000 nurses, who are at the heart of everything we do. As an organization, we believe we provide the best, highest quality care by giving voice to nurses. We understand the challenges you face and are dedicated to ensuring you have the resources needed to provide compassionate care at the bedside.

This year, as we recognize Nurses Week, we are more committed to you than ever. You show up to provide excellent care every day, and we are honored to support you – every step of the way. I am so grateful for your dedication and am proud to work alongside you.

To nurses across HCA Healthcare, thank you for working hard to raise the bar for our patients, our organization and the healthcare industry at large.  And to all nurses, this week and always, I hope you feel appreciation from your colleagues, your communities and your patients.

Tammy Webb, MSN, RN. Executive Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Children’s Health (Dallas): "Nurses Make a Difference" is the theme for Nurses Month 2022, and it could not be more fitting as we celebrate the amazing contributions that our nurses make in the lives of our patients and families each day. They truly are the heart of Children’s Health, and their dedication and commitment to providing exceptional nursing care is what sets Children’s Health apart, making life better for children.

Each day they continue to rise to the challenges before them, and I extend my deepest, heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to our nurses at Children’s Health and all nurses around the world.

Theresa Brodrick, RN, PhD. Executive Vice President and Network Chief Nurse Executive of Hackensack Meridian Health (Edison, N.J.): In celebration of National Nurses Week, I want to thank our 8,600 nurses across Hackensack Meridian Health and recognize all those practicing throughout the world. In the face of adversity, they have persevered and consistently shown the compassion and competence that our profession demands. They are fierce patient advocates, relentless champions of quality and innovation, and beacons of joy, grace and respect for the human spirit. During times of crisis and every day in between, Hackensack Meridian nurses stay true to our mission and purpose. Through their actions, they continue to demonstrate that nursing is not just a job, but a calling. It has never been more clear why Hackensack Meridian is nationally recognized for nursing excellence. Our nurses are truly unstoppable. We are grateful to them during Nurses Week, and always.


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