Every year, people across the globe observe International Nurses Day on May 12th to commemorate the birth of Florence Nightingale, the fundamental philosopher behind modern nursing. According to the International Council of Nurses website, the event, established by the organization in 1974, is meant to highlight and celebrate the pivotal role nurses serve in world-wide health care systems. 

I think we can all agree that nurses are awesome, and that we are lost without them. 

I write this article from the comfort of my home while nurses, medical professionals and doctors get up, get dressed and risk their lives to save others every day. And I’d say most of them don’t even think twice about it! It’s what they signed up for. It’s what they’ve dedicated their lives to. It’s incredible really. And today is a day dedicated to thanking and celebrating nurses for their tireless efforts to keep us happy, healthy and comfortable during difficult days.

Throughout this pandemic and time of uncertainty, stories circulating on social media and the news continue to bring glimmers of hope and humanity through the acts of kindness and care given from nurses in countries effected by COVID-19. Some stories include nurses, covered head-to-toe in personal protective gear, who tape photos of themselves smiling on their suits to help comfort patients who are intimidated by their masks; and what about nurses in totally different parts of the world who facilitate video calls for patients who can’t visit their loved ones.

These instances of extra-special care are popping up all over the place, and I don’t know about you, but it brings me tears of joy.

That said, if you’re like me, and you want to show your appreciation for the nurses in your community, here are 3 things you can do to say “thank you” in a safe, thoughtful and helpful way on International Nurses Day!

1.    Send a hand-made card
I know what you’re thinking, too easy, but there is no better way to express gratitude than good old-fashioned snail mail! A hand-made card allows you the freedom to get creative and express gratitude in safe way. And it is sure to put a smile on a nurse’s face! Don’t have a specific nurse to send a card to? You can find addresses for four major hospitals in Arlington at the bottom of this article.

2.    Donate food
I think it’s safe to say that food is a universal love-language. Another option to show your appreciation is to donate a care package of healthy snacks (i.e. granola, fresh fruit, etc.) for nurses during long shifts. No matter the scale or amount of food you donate, they’re sure to feel the love.

3.    Host a car parade
It’s a lot to ask, I know, but it’s the safest way to make a big impact! The Arlington Police and Fire departments showed their support with a parade for employees at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital in April. Check out a video of nurses and medical professionals cheering as they drove by (filmed by Respiratory Therapist Danial Bryant) here. A parade is a way to band together with friends and family to make nurses feel extra-special on a day that is dedicated to celebrating them, one honk at a time. 

Isn’t it amazing that we have nurses who are as passionate about our loved ones as we are? As a thank you, communities are coming together in other ways to recognize the work they do all over the world!

In North Texas, Emily Phillips started the “RVs for MDs” Facebook group to help medical professionals, with high chances of exposure to coronavirus, find RVs and campers to live in temporarily to avoid infecting their families. The idea for the group, now with more than 29,000 members and 100 volunteers, sparked from Phillips’ own experience finding a place for her husband, Dr. Jason Phillips, ER doctor, to quarantine (CBS news article). Since the creation of the group, hundreds of nurses, doctors and other medical professionals across the nation have been connected to safe RVs and campers. How awesome is that!?

Cards have been made, food has been delivered and RVs donated during this crazy and unsettling time to thank and show appreciation for nurses on the frontlines of this pandemic.

Now more than ever, it is apparent how important nursing is. So, hug your nurse friends a little tighter today and thank them for their dedication to serving their communities; let them know that their efforts don’t go unnoticed! 
CBS news anchor Gayle King said it best, “there’s an epidemic of compassion going around.” Let’s do our best to keep it going. Let’s show our nurses around the world that they’re awesome today and every day!

For more information on the history of International Nurses Day, visit the International Council of Nurses website.

Major Healthcare Facilities in Arlington
Texas Health Arlington Memorial
612 E. Lamar Boulevard
Arlington, TX 76011
Phone: 1(877) 847-9355

Medical City Arlington
3301 Matlock Rd
Arlington, TX 76015
Phone: (682) 509-6200

Baylor Orthopedic and Spine Hospital at Arlington
707 Highlander Blvd.
Arlington, TX 76015
Phone: (855) 41-ORTHO

USMD Hospital at Arlington
801 West Interstate 20
Arlington, Texas 76017 
Phone: 817-472-3400