Nurses are our superheroes every day, but especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their bravery, compassion, and expertise are truly awe-inspiring. That’s why Nurses Week, May 6–12, was especially meaningful at Willow Valley Communities in 2020. Willow Valley Communities celebrated 422 Nursing Team Members — Nurses, Certiﬁed Nursing Assistants, and Patient Care Assistants — in special ways throughout the week.
National Nurses Week was first observed in the United States in October 1954. In February of 1974, President Richard Nixon proclaimed a National Nurse Week to be celebrated annually in May. National Recognition Day for Nurses, May 6, was eventually proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1982. The World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the “International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife” in honor of the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Florence Nightingale was a visionary nurse and is credited with the founding of modern-day nursing. Each year, Nurses Week commences on May 6 and ends on May 12, her birthday.
Before the start of the week, signage was installed throughout Willow Valley Communities’ campuses expressing heartfelt messages thanking our Nursing Team Members for the heroic jobs they do every day, but honoring them especially for Nurses Week. We produced a fun video that was posted on several social media platforms featuring many of our dedicated nurses at work. Midweek they were all treated to decadent pastries from downtown Lancaster’s nationally renowned Bistro Barberet & Bakery.
The entire COVID-19 Update news broadcast on May 6 was dedicated to Willow Valley Communities nurses. Pam Kinsey, Willow Valley Communities’ Infection Prevention Manager, who is also a nurse, was presented with a beautiful ﬂower arrangement by Chief Marketing Officer, and broadcast anchor, Brian Rutter. Lakes Independent Living Resident Nurse Lynn Reyker and Lakeside Supportive Living Resident Nurse Getamesaye Hailu were Brian’s guests on the program and spoke about what being a nurse means to them.
Getamesaye, originally from Ethiopia, shared why he decided to become a nurse. He had some friends who were nurses, and he saw how the profession was a privilege. He also likes the work diversity. “Every day as a nurse is different,” he said. “I get to work with different people, and I like that.”
Lynn, who celebrated 28 years as a Willow Valley Communities nurse the day before the broadcast, said that one of the most challenging — and at the same time blessed — experiences this year was watching her Residents recover from COVID-19. “Nursing has blessed my life,” she said. “Willow Valley Communities nurses are committed to the Residents we serve, and we are committed to each other,” she added. “We are called to serve others.” She concluded her appearance on the broadcast with heartfelt words, stating, “I have never been more proud of working for Willow Valley Communities than I have during this time.”
We salute all of our amazing and selfless Willow Valley Communities nurses during Nurses Week — and every week. They are truly our healthcare heroes