South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS)

Some STVHCS nurses don the nursing "uniform" in celebration of Nurses Week.

STVHCS Celebrates Nursing

Some STVHCS nurses don the nursing "uniform" in celebration of Nurses Week.


by Robin Risemas, Office of Public Affairs


In celebration of National Nurses Week, May 6-12, South Texas Veterans Health Care System (STVHCS) honored those who give so tirelessly to our Veterans.

To celebrate Nurses Week 2011, STVHCS had many different activities, including “Retro Nurses Day”. Celebrated on Friday, May 13, this was an opportunity for all nurses to go back in time and show us how proud they are to wear the nursing “uniform.”

Did you know that since 1930, the VA has been the largest employer of nurses in the country? Currently, the VA employees more than 83,000 registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs) licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Nurses touch everyone enrolled for VA health care, more than 8 million enrollees strong.

Each year, we celebrate the contribution of nurses throughout the nation and history. This year, the theme of Nurses Week was “Nurses: Trusted to Care”, and that is exactly what we do here at STVHCS, trust our nurses.

Officially established in 1974 by Presidential proclamation, Nurses Week is always celebrated from May 6-12: May 12 is the birth date of Florence Nightingale, one of the most famous nurses in history. Although President Nixon signed a proclamation in 1974 establishing an official nurses week, the actual dates were not official until 1993 when the American Nurses Association (ANA) designated those dates permanently beginning in 1994.

Of the more than 83,000 nurses in the VA, STVHCS has 941 nurses throughout many different clinics and inpatient units. That is a third of our workforce! Imagine a day without nurses and you can understand why it’s so important to acknowledge all their hard work.

Ask any of them why they became nurses and the bottom line is they care about people.  Carol Thompson, Associate Chief of Nursing Service for Critical Care says “The art of nursing can be found everywhere; one just has to find their niche.” She goes on to say “For me, my profession, which I still love, has been a lifetime of rewarding experiences that have helped shape me as a nurse and as a person.”

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Lisa Browning, Assistant Nurse Manager from 4S says “Do for the rest of your life what you would do for nothing” and this sentiment rings throughout the nursing field. One need only watch a nurse in action to know that those who choose nursing are special people, capable of such compassion and empathy at some of the worst moments in a patient’s life.

With all the skills that nursing requires, you can understand why it takes someone unique to be a nurse. There have been many great things said about nursing but perhaps the most profound quote comes not from someone famous with their hands in the root of modern nursing, but from an unknown source “When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life, or a life will touch yours.” What better way to acknowledge our nurses than by letting them know they touch our lives!

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