Our View: Thank you, nurses, other medical professionals


National Nurses Week, May 6-12, has rolled around at a pretty opportune moment, given all the accolades and appreciation so appropriately being heaped on medical professionals and others on the front line during the coronavirus pandemic.

The timing was just as good in 2016 in the view of Jerry Boothe of Duluth, whose letter to the editor in the News Tribune then praised nurses who were always “there to meet patient’s needs, whether it is to administer medications, assist with daily cares, or provide CPR in extreme cases when needed, and always with a smile. …

“Duluth has Blue Angels 365 days a year,” Boothe further wrote, cleverly drawing a comparison between the occasional visits to Duluth of the U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron and medical scrubs.

What readers didn’t know was that Boothe was a patient in hospice care at the time with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. He was in hospice care from April 2015 until his death in November 2016.

“We had many nurses coming into our home and one that was a particular favorite,” Sharyn Boothe wrote this week to the News Tribune Opinion page, accurately suggesting her husband’s letter was relevant again and deserved renewed attention. “Prior to that, he had a triple bypass in 2010 at St Luke's Hospital (and) during his recovery process he was up walking with a nurse (and) had respiratory arrest, which caused cardiac arrest. The nurse performed CPR. He then was in the ICU for another 16 days, and he lived for another six years. It was a nurse that allowed these six years for us. …


“He was always thankful for the care (of) the medical professionals that cared for him.”

A chance to express gratitude for all they do, for the excellent care they provide, is the whole intent of National Nurses Week, which was first observed in 1954, according to the American Nurses Association. The annual tribute ends on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. This year is the 200th anniversary of her birth, so the World Health Organization additionally declared 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse.” The WHO couldn’t possibly have known just how apt that designation would become.

“It is very fitting, especially at this time, to recognize the extraordinary efforts of nurses and caregivers everywhere for their service and sacrifice in keeping our communities healthy,” Brian Pattock, administrator of Benedictine Living Community Duluth, said in a statement this week announcing its activities for National Nurses Week.

Fitting indeed, but as Boothe reminded his Duluth neighbors during National Nurses Week in 2016, there’s never a wrong time to show gratitude toward and to appreciate nurses and other medical professionals. They care for us. And right now they need our support, even as we count on them to get us safely through this public health emergency.


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