Culture of safety to highlight Nurses Week – Nurses Week to Be Celebrated May 6-12

With Jane Nelson, Executive Director, Oklahoma Nurses Association


National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
It’s a small, but important reminder, of how important nursing is to the fabric of our society.
Oklahoma Nurses Association Executive Director Jane Nelson says the week serves several important functions.
“Every year, Nurses Week focuses attention on the diverse ways Oklahoma’s 42,000 registered nurses work to provide quality patient care and to improve the health of millions of individuals,” Nelson said. “This year, “Culture of Safety “ is the selected theme, in recognition of the impact ethical nursing practice has on patient outcomes and the quality of care.”
Registered nurses around the country are encouraged to wear their “RN Pins” in honor of Nurses Week and RN Recognition Day.
As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week each year.
The nursing profession has been supported and promoted by the American Nurses Association (ANA) since 1896.
“Nursing continues to be rated the most trusted profession, according to the annual Gallup poll ranking of honesty and ethics in various fields,” Nelson said. “For the past 14 years, the public has voted nurses as the most honest and ethical profession in America. This year, 85 percent of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high” or “high,” tying a nurses’ high point on the Gallup poll and 17 percentage points above any other profession.”
The American Nurses Association has ramped up its efforts to assist nurses in achieving a culture of safety in 2016 — no matter where they work or what role they hold.
The theme of this yearlong campaign is Safety 360 Taking Responsibility Together. As part of the campaign, ANA is highlighting its range of existing resources through articles and other communication vehicles and offering new educational opportunities, including webinars, to nurses every month on a specific aspect of a culture of safety
ANA defines a culture of safety as one in which core values and behaviors — resulting from a collective and sustained commitment by organizational leadership, managers and workers — emphasize safety over competing goals.
Attributes of a positive safety culture include:
· openness and mutual trust when discussing safety concerns and solutions without individual blame;
· marshaling of appropriate resources, such as safe staffing- and skill-mix levels;
· a learning environment in which health care professionals learn from errors and proactively detect systemic weaknesses;
· transparency and accountability.
ANA is asking all nurses to consider how they can individually and collectively work toward creating a culture of safety in their workplaces, which means ensuring not only the safety of their patients, but also their own safety. For example, safe patient handling and mobility strategies prevent injuries to patients and nurses. The same can be said for safe staffing and a host of other issues that ANA — and hopefully nurses nationwide — will explore over the course of the year.
Nelson believes nurses are the future of healthcare in our state.
“Health care in Oklahoma is in tremendous flux and nurses need to be engaged in creating the future not just affected by it,” she said.