Credit: Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT

May 6 is National Nurses Day — a day that begins National Nurses Week, which culminates on the 12th, Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday. In 1982, a congressional resolution designated May 6 as National Recognition Day for Nurses. A few years later, in 1990, the American Nurse Association expanded the recognition to create National Nurses Week. This year, the World Health Organization proclaimed 2020 as the Year of the Nurse, in honor of Nightingale’s bicentenary. Worldwide, nurses are being acknowledged as heroes on the frontline of COVID.

This is an important time to recognize nurses and the vast contributions and positive impact they make in lives every single day. Santa Barbara County’s Behavioral Wellness department could not be prouder of the nurses who work tirelessly and have truly dedicated their lives to serving our community.

National Nurses Week provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the many ways nurses make a difference, from addressing public health challenges to delivering culturally competent care and increasing diversity and inclusion in nursing care.  With the current local challenges of COVID-19, our nurses have gone above and beyond to provide the highest of quality of care for clients served while doing so in a manner which ensures safety for clients and staff.

Whether it be a nurse working tirelessly within the Behavioral Wellness Psychiatric Health Facility, Crisis Stabilization Unit, on a community-based team or serving on a clinic-based team or program, to all of our Behavioral Wellness nurses, your passion for the health of our departmental clients is appreciated every day. And to all the nurses in Santa Barbara County, thank you for all you do. Your overall compassion, optimism and kindness do not go unnoticed, and we appreciate you!

For all who feel as we do, please take some time during National Nurses Week (May 6-12) to recognize a nurse who has touched you or a loved one this year:
Say it with caffeine: Nurses work long and late hours. A gift card to a coffee shop is practical and much appreciated.
Say it out loud, Facebook style: Consider a big social media shout-out on your Facebook page.
Say it with a letter: Handwritten thank-you notes are still an excellent way to share your feelings and boost a nurse’s day.
Say it with food: Every workplace enjoys a thoughtful basket of food from a grateful giver. Just make sure to include enough for the team.

The Behavioral Wellness Access Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (888) 868-1649.

Suzanne Grimmesey is the chief quality care and strategy officer for the Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness.


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