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NEWS | May 8, 2012

Celebrating our uniqueness - Nurses and Technicians' Week May 6-12

By Senior Airman Melinda Burpee 628th Flight Medicine Clinic medical technician

The American Nurses' Association designated May 6 to 12 as National Nurses' Appreciation Week with the theme, "Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring." The week-long celebration honors nurses and medical para-professionals and the contributions they have made across the nation. During this week, Americans are also encouraged to consider nursing as a profession to support the wellness of our country.

There are currently 2.9 million registered nurses and more than 500,000 medical para-professionals in the healthcare field, dedicated to saving lives and improving the health of millions of Americans.

Most nurses and technicians enter this profession for the challenges and satisfaction they hope to receive. From helping a family welcome a new baby or supporting a family as they lose a loved one, nurses continue to make a difference in people's lives. These professionals are highly skilled, well-educated in anatomy, physiology, assessment, disease processes and prevention, drug therapy and alternative treatment of both adults and children.

The opportunities in nursing are boundless: inpatient and outpatient clinical nursing, nursing education, informatics, home healthcare, nurse practitioners, anesthesia and midwifery are just a few. There are more than 60 professional nursing organizations that promote nursing excellence and offer specialty certification, including the American Nurses' Association. Almost all states require nurses to receive annual continuing education to maintain their nursing skills and licensure.

Military nurses and medical para-professionals offer their own unique skills in the defense of our nation. In addition to adhering to all civilian nursing requirements, military nurses and medical technicians are held to the stringent standards of all members of the Armed Forces and are integral to the success of our worldwide deployable Expeditionary Medical Support readiness mission. Their contributions include flight nursing, medical readiness, hyperbarics, population health and Aerospace Physiology research.

Nursing is a highly sought after profession that is an essential element in our nation's healthcare system. While this role can be demanding, it comes with an abundance of rewards. For nurses, this isn't just a job, it's their way of life!