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For Release: April 28, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

National Nurses Week, May 6-12
Nurses: Building a Healthy America

The work of America's 2.9 million registered nurses to save lives and to maintain the health of millions of individuals is the focus of this year's National Nurses Week, May 6-12. The American Nurses Association has selected "Nurses: Building a Healthy America" as this year’s theme for the observance, which begins on May 6, marked as “RN Recognition Day,” and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession.

“We would like to take this opportunity to recognize the hard work and dedication of nurses in Oklahoma,” said Interim Commissioner of Health Rocky McElvany. “It is appropriate that we set aside a special time to celebrate the contributions nurses make to Oklahoma communities.”

Registered nurses, the largest health care profession, are working to improve health care in a variety of health care settings. From bedside nursing in hospitals and long-term care facilities to public health clinics and research institutions, the nursing profession continues to expand.

“Public health nurses in the state’s local county health departments provide a variety of services including child and adult immunizations, preventive health screenings, monitoring and control of communicable diseases and chronic health concerns, services that assure healthier mothers and babies, child abuse prevention, emergency preparedness, and school health education,” said Diana Pistole, MPH, RN, chief of Nursing Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

In a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the United States is described as currently having a nurse shortage. Because of the current and projected shortages, the Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages men and women to consider the field of nursing as a career. The demand for registered nursing service is expected to grow as the number of Americans age 65 and older increases.



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