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FOR RELEASE: May 6, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Nurses Receive National and State Recognition During May

The nursing profession continues to work to improve health care from bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities to halls of research institutions and throughout the community. During this week, May 6 - 12, National Nurses Week, nearly 2.7 million nurses in America are being recognized for the important work they perform.

Today, May 6, is Nurse Recognition Day and the observance will end on the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of the modern nursing profession. Nurses across the country are encouraged to wear their nursing pins during the week.

"Nurses Care for America" is the theme for 2002. This year the American Nurses Association (ANA), its member associations, and the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) are recognizing advances in nursing and focusing attention on issues affecting the public and the nursing profession today.

Public health nurses have been providing health care to Oklahomans since the placement of the first public health nurse in 1919. Currently, about 620 registered nurses provide public health services in Oklahoma's 77 counties. These services include child and adult immunizations, preventive health screenings, control of communicable diseases, services that assure healthier mothers and babies, child abuse prevention, and school health.

The nation's nurses rank second for their honesty and integrity, with 84 percent of Americans rating them "high" or "very high," according to a 2001 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. Firefighters, who were given high ratings by 90 percent of Americans, displaced nurses from the poll's top slot this year, following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Recent published studies indicate that hospitals with more RNs on staff and higher ratios of nurses to patients had 6.3 fewer deaths per 1,000 patients than hospitals that did not have them.

For more information about the nursing opportunities within the Oklahoma State Department of Health, contact Mark D. Jones, director, Recruitment and Retention, OSDH, 405/271-4171.

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