October 03, 2022
The sorry state of America’s federal prisons was in full display at a Sept. 29 congressional hearing where AFGE Council of Prison Locals President Shane Fausey testified.
Sept. 22-28 is Federal Nurses Week. As the largest union representing nurses in the federal government, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, Bureau of Prisons, and the Indian Health Service. AFGE is proud to celebrate our nurses who care for our nation’s heroes and fellow Americans, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and other national emergencies.
Started in 2014 by AFGE and our Nurses Steering Committee, Federal Nurses Week honors federal and D.C. government employees in nursing professions, including: registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, and nursing assistants.
“We thank federal nurses especially because they have worked during the most difficult times the last few years without adequate staffing,” said AFGE Nurse Steering Committee Chair Jane Nygaard and co-creator of Federal Nurses Week.
Why being a nurse is important?
Matt Pagliaro from Fort Brooks, San Antonio, Texas, is proud to be a nurse at the Department of Defense.
“Being a Department of Defense nurse is important because I get to take care of military, retirees, and their families in their biggest times of needs,” he explained.
Linda Ward-Smith, registered nurse at the VA medical center in Las Vegas, Nevada, said being a nurse is her passion.
“I love being a nurse because I love taking care of people. It’s always been my passion since I was a little girl, just to help. Once I figured out that I could do that as a nurse, I took and ran with that. And I’ve been a nurse over 20 years,” she said.
“Being a nurse is important to me within the military health system because I’m providing care for those who are providing services to countrymen and to the country itself,” said David Pitts from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland.
In 2016, Congress joined AFGE in recognizing federal nurses. They passed a resolution to designate Sept. 22-28 as Federal Nurses Week. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who was joined by Reps. Keith Ellison, Mark Pocan, and Julia Brownley as original cosponsors of the resolution.
A year earlier, President Barack Obama joined AFGE in celebrating federal nurses, calling them “the beating heart of our medical system.”
Happy Federal Nurses Week. We thank you for your service!
Staff needed to move patients to other hospitals and get the grounds ready for the storm that was projected to be the region’s strongest on record.
This op-ed by AFGE President Everett Kelley was published in The Hill on Sept. 28, 2022.