All of us in Arkansas owe our nurses and other healthcare professionals the most sincere and genuine debt of gratitude. Even if we haven’t always taken the time to properly recognize their contributions in the past, the last two years have shown us all just how hard they work for our communities.
These years have been hard for us all and especially for our healthcare providers who put in the hard work, long hours and restless nights to care for our loved ones. In healthcare, we’ve also seen many nurses retire or leave the workforce due to other family obligations. That’s why, as we celebrate National Nurses Month in May and thank our nurses for their ongoing commitment, I think it’s equally important to recognize the focus and dedication of our future nurses who are preparing to make that same commitment to their communities.
In Little Rock, we’re fortunate to have the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, which has been equipping nurses for more than 50 years. UA Little Rock and its 130+ nursing students graduating this May are joined by other schools across the state that recognize just how vital the role of nursing is to a sustainable and caring healthcare system. We know that the majority of those students graduating from UA Little Rock and other schools across the state will stay right here in the Natural State, supporting and providing compassionate care for their communities.
At UA Little Rock in particular, nearly half of its nursing faculty are also alumni, demonstrating a hands-on knowledge of the community’s healthcare needs and a commitment to training the next generation of caregivers. These are the kinds of programs and students that deserve our support; now more than ever before, we all understand just how important their work is to keep us all moving forward.
Let’s all be clear: this is hard work. Our nurses are there at the bedside in the good times and the bad. They help us celebrate recoveries, but they’re also there when we need a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on. They will also be the first to tell you just how meaningful that work is.
And let there be no mistake, no hospital could provide the necessary care our communities deserve without our nurses and other healthcare providers. The future nurses who will soon be joining the hospital workforce have spent the past few years building the skills they need to support our nurses already on the job and build a brighter future for us all.
At CHI St. Vincent, we are truly honored to have such loyal nurses who see this healing ministry as a calling, not simply a job. It is a blessing to be sure – and one that should be recognized. That’s why we’ve worked so diligently and made significant investments in time and resources to ensure that our nurses and other healthcare coworkers have the support they need. That’s why we partner with and support our Arkansas institutions, like UA Little Rock, who invest in our community through the expert training of these caregivers.
Nurses walk through these doors each and every day with the singular mission to provide exceptional, compassionate care to all of us and our loved ones. The very least we can do is make sure they can expect the same care and support from us today and tomorrow.
Editor’s note: Chad Aduddell is CEO for CHI St. Vincent, a nonprofit regional health network that includes four hospitals, primary care, specialty clinics, urgent care, home health, rehabilitation and surgery centers across Arkansas. The opinions expressed are those of the author.