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Nurses leading the way
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This week the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System honors the dedicated men and women we in the Department of Veterans Affairs consider to be the compassionate backbone of the Veterans Health Administration – nurses.

The theme of National Nurses Week 2014 is “Nurses Leading the Way,” and no one puts more passion into the health care profession than VA nurses and nursing staff. The VA is the nation’s largest single employer of nurses. The VA nurses lead their profession in education and training, clinical responsibility and research. But their passion comes from VA’s mission to provide the very best personalized, proactive, patient-driven care to the veterans we serve.

The nurses are integral and equal members of our health care team of professionals. No health care professional is closer to the veterans we care for than a VA nurse. Veterans and families rely on them for their compassion and the VA relies on them for setting the highest clinical care standards. That reliance is well placed. The VA’s recognition as a leader in health care quality, patient safety and research is due in large part to nurses.

Every year, the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System serves more than 100,000 veterans and our nursing staff is involved at virtually every point of care. From admission to discharge, from primary care to complex inpatient procedures and home care – our nursing staff is there to deliver the best possible outcomes for our nation’s heroes. Moreover, about 20 percent of our nurses are veterans and 245 hold advanced certifications in specialized nursing practices like anesthesia, geriatrics, mental health, cardiac and more.

For Nurses Week this year, the Bay Pines VAHCS will host various events to recognize our dedicated nursing professionals across the organization. The week culminates with our annual nursing awards program scheduled for Friday, May 9, at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center. The event is a fitting tribute to all of those who committed to the Florence Nightingale Pledge: “… With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

I am deeply proud to be associated with the nearly 1,100 nursing employees who serve veterans across the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and of all of our nation’s 3.1 million registered nurses who work tirelessly to keep us well and save lives around the clock every day.

Happy nurses week.

Teresa E. Kumar
Associate director, Patient Care Services
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System
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