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The American Nurses Association has identified the theme of Nurses Month as Nurses Make a Difference to honor the significant positive impact of nurses’ contributions to the communities in which they serve. Over the course of the pandemic, society has been reminded of the important roles nurses provide in ensuring quality care for individuals, families and populations. Members of the nursing profession have demonstrated tireless advocacy and care for the health and safety of our communities, often while risking their own personal physical and mental health.

As the associate director of nursing at Ohio University Southern, I personally recognize and admire the perseverance and dedication that is reflected in the individuals pursuing and maintaining careers in the nursing profession. I would like to thank nurses in every arena for their unwavering commitment to improving health outcomes. Recent history has required innovative collaboration between all areas of nursing practice to ensure members of our communities continue to access care and flourish despite the challenges we have faced.

According to a Gallup poll, nurses were identified as the most trusted profession for the 20th consecutive year in 2021. This was evidenced during the pandemic as nurses were often the only personal contact for patients. Nurses continued to help bring babies into the world, hold the hand of the frightened patient unable to have visitors, and FaceTime with family members as they said goodbye to loved ones via technology rather than being physically present at the bedside. These examples only provide a minuscule glimpse into the work nurses have been performing behind the scenes during the pandemic.

During Nurses Month, it is my desire to extend a heartfelt thank you to all nurses. It is important to especially recognize those who have worked on the front lines, volunteered in vaccination clinics, administrators who have assisted in patient care, nurse educators striving to continue to educate future nurses, those who have come out of retirement to assist the workforce, and nursing students who have endured unusual learning experiences. As always, nurses have stepped up to the challenge. Nurses have again proven that they indeed make a difference, and I am proud to be a member of this profession.

Mashawna Hamilton, DNP, RN, is an associate professor and the associate director of the Ohio University Southern Center for Nursing Education.

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