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Military honors nurses during National Nurses Week

A look at military nurses through the ages in celebration of the Military Health System's 2018 National Nurses Week. (MHS graphic)

A look at military nurses through the ages in celebration of the Military Health System's 2018 National Nurses Week. (MHS graphic)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- American poet and writer Maya Angelou said, “They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you make them feel.”

This reference to the impact nurses have on their patients rings true every day, especially for those who help and heal our nation’s military. In their honor next week, the nursing profession is celebrated across the Department of Defense as part of the 2018 National Nurses Week observance. 

Nurses Week begins on National Nurses Day, May 6, and culminates May 12 on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, who is widely known as the founder of modern nursing. For the U.S. military, it is an opportunity to recognize the contributions of the women and men serving as nurses since the American Revolution to today. Currently, there are nearly 30,000 military and civilian nurses serving active duty service members, their families, and retirees. 

“This week, we proudly celebrate all nurses across the Military Health System – past and present – serving our courageous warfighters, retirees, and their families,” said Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Tom McCaffery. “The selfless service of nurses in the Military Health System and the Department of Defense impacts each of us every day. Their dedication to providing the highest quality care possible to our 9.4 million beneficiaries means that our troops are safer downrange, our military families are healthier back home, and our nation is a more secure, more prosperous place as a result.” 

This year’s theme – Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence – embodies the profession that has been voted by the American public as the most ethical and honest profession in the country 16 years in a row, according to the annual Gallup poll on honesty and ethical standards. 

The MHS begins the week with a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery’s Nurses Memorial at 1:30 p.m. May 7. Air Force Maj. Gen. Dorothy Hogg, the deputy surgeon general of the Air Force, is the keynote speaker. Hogg was recently confirmed by the Senate to be promoted to lieutenant general and appointed as the next Air Force Surgeon General. 

Also speaking at the ceremony are Dr. Carol Romano, retired U.S. Public Health Service Rear Admiral and current dean of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Graduate School of Nursing, and Rear Adm. Tina Davidson, the 25th director of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. 

The ceremony will be live-streamed via Facebook Live beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Anyone can join by linking into: https://www.facebook.com/militaryhealth/

For more than two centuries, military nurses have served America – on the water, in the air and on land – during peacetime and in conflicts stateside and abroad. Nurses in the MHS have played central, heroic roles in military medicine and provided unique contributions within military treatment facilities and clinics throughout the world. They ensure that those in uniform are medically ready to deploy anywhere around the globe on a moment’s notice. Nurses play key roles in military medical research, psychological health, and many other areas within the full spectrum of the health care profession. 

Join the Nurses Week conversation on social media by following: https://www.facebook.com/militaryhealth and https://twitter.com/militaryhealth -- use hashtags #ThankUNurses, #NursesWeek, #MHS. 

Sign-up to receive e-mail updates about Nurses WeekRegister on GovDelivery: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/USMHS/subscriber/new, and select "National Nurses Week" from the MHS News category. 

Log on to www.health.mil/nursesweek to view articles, photos, and videos honoring MHS nurses.