By MIRIAM QUIÑONES & SÍLE MOLONEY
Nurses Week, a week-long, annual celebration, honoring nurses kicked off on Thursday, May 6, with many Bronx hospitals organizing special events to mark the occasion, all of which held special significance for the profession after such an unprecedented year. To date, 42,503 people have died from COVID-19, including 4,538 Bronxites. Over 2 million New Yorkers tested positive for the virus at one point or another.
Among other events, NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi honored their nurses with a large breakfast on May 7. Chief nursing officer, Suzanne Pennacchio, addressed her colleagues with a heartfelt message of gratitude thanking them and saying they went above and beyond to accommodate patients during the pandemic.
NYC Health + Hospitals is still accepting donations to help support their health care heroes and patients. Anyone wishing to donate to the campaign can do so here.
Meanwhile, Carson Newman University Online, which offers a Family Nursing Practitioner (FNP) program, reported recently that according to recent national nursing statistics, the profession continues to outshine other health care roles in many key areas. The university reported that “diversity, demand, and salaries keep growing, while trust in nurses remains at an all-time high.”
According to the report, the latest figures added to the widespread celebration of Nurses Month which takes place throughout May. Sponsored by the American Nurses Association (ANA), Nurses Month is also an annual event “recognizing nurses for their tremendous effort and compassion, as they work collectively to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities nationwide.”
It’s the last day of #NursesWeek! Your generosity helps support our health system’s nurses as they care for ALL New Yorkers, especially during the #COVID19 crisis. Donate now and thank you: https://t.co/hHZVKgZlcD pic.twitter.com/zu6DtCQjkt
— NYC Health + Hospitals (@NYCHealthSystem) May 12, 2021
Carson-Newman reported that nurses at all levels and in all health care settings continue to play a critical role in the nation’s continued fight against COVID-19. Their report found that with nearly 4 million nurses working in the field nationwide, the nursing profession continues to flourish.
The university summarized the latest nursing statistics in the report as follows, along with the relevant sources:
- The average age of surveyed registered nurses is 51 years (NCSBN).
- 9% of nurses are male, versus 2% in 1970 (NCSBN).
- Nurses from minority backgrounds are growing in number (HRSA):
- 10.2% are Hispanic or Latino
- 7.8% are Black or African American (non-Hispanic)
- 5.2% are Asian
- 1.7% of nurses who identify as two or more races
- 0.6% are Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander
- 0.3% are American Indian or Alaskan Native
- Registered nurse jobs are growing faster than average at 7% by 2029 (BLS).
- Nurse practitioner jobs are growing faster than average at 45% by 2029 (BLS).
- The nursing field can anticipate more than 221,000 potential new job openings in the future (BLS).
- RNs showed an increase in median annual income between 2017 and 2019 from $63,000 to $75,330 (NCSBN & BLS).
- The median salary of nurse practitioners is over $117,000 per year (BLS).
- 85% of nurses are satisfied with their current jobs (ANT).
Meanwhile, back in The Bronx, a combination of paid workers and volunteers with the nonprofit, Art Science Research Laboratory, handed out free PPE to long lines of healthcare workers outside Montefiore Medical Center on Wednesday, May 6, during a special giveaway to mark Nurses Week. The event was part of the ongoing “Cut Red Tape 4 Heroes” campaign, which was launched by Art Science Research Laboratory in March 2020 in response to the pandemic.
Rhonda Roland Shearer is the founder and director of the nonprofit. “We’ve been doing this since the beginning of the pandemic,” Shearer told the Norwood News on the day of the event. “We’ve given out more than four million pieces of PPE to approximately 300,000 medical workers, non-medical workers and people in need.” She said the organization’s work has taken them all across New York City and that she and her colleagues have held about a dozen events in The Bronx since the pandemic first hit the city, at different hospitals, food giveaway sites and clinics.
Shearer continued, “Our whole concept is – PPE is expensive, and people that work here [at hospitals] that are invisible, that aren’t thanked every day by the public, spend their own money. It comes out of their own pocket, and we want to give them a month’s worth of PPE to give them a break, and it’s a way that we say, ‘thank you’.”
She said her experience throughout the pandemic taught her how to find quality PPE at a fair price. “In the beginning, I didn’t get donations. People didn’t know what I was doing,” she said, explaining that the group set up a Go Fund Me account and website called cutredtape4heroes.org.
Shearer said donations are still needed and gratefully accepted. “Any amount of money donated is appreciated – except donations of PPE,” she said. “We get the PPE out to the community. We’re at housing projects. We work with the police department when they do activities or food insecurity events – we’re there. So, if you need PPE, call us. Write to us.”
Each PPE package handed out at the Montefiore event contained a cloth face mask, hand sanitizers, a KN95 face mask and a face shield. Shearer said the group is always seeking information so that they can be there for people who need PPE. “We don’t want people making the choice, ‘Oh should I buy food or should I buy PPE to be safe?’” she said. “This is not fair. So, what we do is try and come up with a solution, and that’s giving it away free, and what we do is give it directly to people. We don’t give it to…