Helping Raise the Voice of the Nurse Leader



National Nurses Week is celebrated every year, from May 6 (Florence Nightingale’s birthday) through May 12 (National Nurses Day).

For Nurses Week 2010, Northwest Health Foundation highlighted the leadership role of nurses throughout the state of Oregon.

As NWHF staff stated in an opinion piece in the Portland Business Journal on May 7, 2010, “nearly half of all nurses work outside hospitals — in urban and rural community settings providing care and leadership of health clinics, nursing homes, home health and hospice, churches and synagogues, businesses and schools. Nurses are directing and managing school‐based health services, including chronic disease management, mental and emotional health concerns, preventive care such as immunizations, and identifying outbreaks of infectious disease.”

We worked with Jeri Weeks, executive director of the who wrote a piece for the Eugene Register-Guard, which was published on May 9,

Jeri wrote that “nurses today are on the front lines of primary care, delivering and coordinating care for millions of insured and uninsured people across the country.”

“With a shortage of primary care physicians,” she added, “our ability to serve the 13,000 patients a year would be in jeopardy without nurse practitioners. They provide a primary care ‘home,’ serving thousands of patients who otherwise would go without care.”

In an Op-Ed in the Oregonian, published at the tail end of the week, NWHF president Thomas Aschenbrener imagined a future “where virtually all primary care in the United States is delivered by nurses and nurse practitioners,” adding that in that future “quality of care and patient satisfaction are higher than they were back in 2010,” and “most chronic diseases like asthma, high blood pressure and diabetes are managed by nurses, who are reducing the burden on our emergency and specialty-care system.”

On Oregon Public Broadcasting, Northwest Health Foundation ran five short sponsorship spots throughout National Nurses Week, highlighting, for example, the fact that “nurses and nurse practitioners are directing primary health care in clinics throughout Oregon,” and “recognizing the nurse leaders who run school based health centers throughout Oregon and southwest Washington.”

Print advertisements (click on the black and white photo above right to see) were placed in the Medford Mail-Tribune, Eugene Register-Guard, and the Salem Statesman-Journal, and highlighted the changing faces of nurses, and the evolving roles of nursing in the health care system.

As NWHF staff concluded in the article, “Change the image of nursing in your mind and you will change the future.”