If you get sick and go to a hospital, chances are you will be taken care of by a nurse (or a team of them) in addition to your doctor. Hospitals cannot run without nurses. That's why AFGE proudly celebrates National Nurses Week with nursing professionals around the country May 6 – 12. The American Nurses Association recognizes this year as the “Year of the Healthy Nurse’ with a theme of “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.”
“As a nurse serving our veterans for just over 20 years I am proud to recognize and honor the work of our nation’s caregivers,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr. “Within our union we have a strong committee of nurses who serve in a variety of government agencies. They are caring for a diverse population of patients and advocating for the workers that are by their side.”
Earlier this year the AFGE Nurse Steering Committee convened for their annual planning meeting. Activists at the meeting highlighted the value of sharing the stories of nurses in the federal sector. Attendees also discussed the importance of official time in relation to patient care and safety standards, and the need for legislation to address patient-staff ratios in the public sector.
The committee also developed the theme for the September 2017 Federal Nurses Week celebration: Federal Nurses' Endless Service...Endless Care.
Through this theme, the committee looks to demonstrate the values shared by all of those in the nursing professions. AFGE represents those in the Indian Health Service, our nation's veterans, provide services to communities utilizing social programs, care for active-duty members of the military and their families, and serve inmates within the Bureau of Prisons system.
"We're excited to implement ideas and actions that further the work of nurses in the federal sector," said retiring AFGE District 8 National Vice President and outgoing Nurse Steering Committee Chair Jane Nygaard. "Our goal is to highlight the ways AFGE fights for safe staffing, fair scheduling and improved safety standards for public servants in the nursing profession."
The committee has begun planning celebratory events and legislative action. During Federal Nurses Week 2015 and 2016, the committee worked with lawmakers to introduce a bill that would improve patient-staff ratios in the public sector. Safe staffing levels is a key concern for nurses across federal agencies and the AFGE Nurse Steering Committee plans to pick up the fight again this year.
Learn more about Federal Nurses Week and the AFGE Nurse Steering Committee at www.afge.org/nursesteeringcommittee.