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Nursing: the most trusted profession in the country for 19 years in a row.

An unprecedented shortage of these professionals right when the country needs us the most.

Let’s be honest…how many people really know what a Gallup Poll is?  It does beg the question “was Gallup a real person?”.  I have to be honest and say I neither knew nor cared until I read recently that nurses top Gallup’s poll of the most trusted profession for 19 years in a row!!  Wow…the most trusted profession for 19 years in a row.  I mean to say that we are more trusted than our Congress, lawyers, time share condominium salespeople makes sense.  But we are also ahead of journalists, the clergy and even doctors (and being married to one of them means that the findings of this poll take on even greater significance…).  Undoubtedly, the reasons that lead to our being so trusted in society also led to 2020 as being designated the International Year of the Nurse by the World Health Organization, an honor that we all shared with our midwife colleagues. I mean…we should all pause and take note of what we have done to touch the lives of so many people that of all of the deserving groups out there, our actions were universally recognized across the globe as deserving of award.  As a Family Nurse Practitioner for over 25 years, this makes me proud.  And let’s look at what we do to earn these accolades because we all know that being a nurse isn’t for the faint of heart.  First and foremost, ladies and gentlemen, nurses are heroes. That is a period…a hard stop…at the end of that statement.  Nurses put others first and are dedicated to giving back to those most in need. Nurses care for very complex patients in an ever-changing healthcare arena that taxes the emotional, physical, and spiritual demands of all of us.  We make a difference in the lives of patients, their families, and our communities and these differences are not just local.  While you can find us at the hospital bedside in the intensive care unit of your hospital at 3AM, in your grandmother’s long-term care facility, in your daughter’s school, in your community’s health department, in our society’s mental health facilities and institutions, and on health-related boards protecting our public, we are also making differences globally. We are there following national disasters.  We are there during famines.  We have been there the entire time during COVID-19. In short…nurses are simply there…. And just in case anyone missed what we have done or where we might be, just look up our current Surgeon General and guess what you will find? A nurse.

“Nurses are heroes. That is a period…a hard stop…at the end of that statement.”

In addition to my clinical practice, I am also a nurse educator. Over my career, I have watched nurses reach the heights of educational preparation with Bachelors of Science of Nursing (BSN), Maters Science of Nursing (MSN), Advanced Practice Registered Nursing (APRN), and terminal doctoral degrees including those in the study of Nursing Practice (DNP). These advanced degrees have allowed nurses to take ownership of every facet of their career from education, public policy, and bedside care to being the primary providers of health care to loved ones from coast to coast. You might then ask, what’s the problem?  Being a nurse is clearly the most awesome thing in the world so what’s wrong?  Well there is a perspective of nursing that quite frankly keeps me up at night:

there simply aren’t enough of us.

Even before the global COVID pandemic exposed a lot of the shortcomings of our healthcare system, our population was aging, living longer, and requiring more care and we just aren’t graduating enough people to keep up with the need.  Personally, as my family, colleagues, and even my husband age (he and I have an agreement that I, on the other hand, do not and will not age but that’s another blog topic…) the thought of our nation’s enlarging nursing shortage scares me. In fact, my practice is in the state with the fewest number of nurses in the country for the population it serves.

These are some of the reasons that I became president of the South Carolina Nurses Foundation (SCNF).  The SCNF was established in 1974 as a nonprofit organization to promote high standards of health care by facilitating the advancement of nursing.  We have evolved into an organization that tirelessly promotes and encourages excellence in areas of nursing practice throughout a part of a nurse’s career as we pursue a single, over-arching goal: improving the quality of health care for all South Carolina citizens by advancing the profession of nursing throughout the state. A primary vehicle for this improvement has to be the education and training of more nurses and our contribution is by:

leading the state in providing nursing scholarships for undergraduate and graduate nurses.

The Foundation was excited to learn about Just Cause Apparel™.  Like us, they are group of people brought together by a healthcare provider (a cancer surgeon that admitted he’s a doctor only because he couldn’t get into nursing school…) that wants to give back to the medical field.  They sell scrubs and lab coats and all of the stuff that we need to do learn our trade and then to do our jobs.  But Just Cause Apparel™ goes above and beyond just selling stuff.  They have created partnerships with not-for-profit organizations all over the country so those purchasing scrubs (since most of us purchase our own scrubs) can direct 50% of the profit made on their sale of scrubs to the charity of their choice.  People can choose the group they want to support including the SCNF. The scrubs offered are the same manufactures and at the same cost, but now 50% of the net profits from sales can support the future of nursing. It is a win-win for supporting the future of nursing.

I hope that you consider supporting SCNF in this partnership with Just Cause Apparel™ and you will be supporting the education of our nurses. And I have one more ask.  Wherever you are, pause for just one second, raise your cup coffee or beverage of choice, and give a nod to a nurse.  I know that we would appreciate it.