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Honoring the Heart of Phoenix VA Health Care: National Nurses Week Celebration

Nurses Week

The Phoenix VA Health Care System held a Nurses Week Celebration at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center to recognize and appreciate the dedication, compassion, expertise, and outstanding contributions VA nurses makes in Veterans’ lives and to our facility during Nurses Week, May 8.

Historically, National Nurses Month has a rich history, originating with the establishment of National Nurses Week in 1954, which initially spanned from Oct. 11 to Oct. 16, dedicated to honoring nurses' contributions to healthcare. Over time, it transitioned to a month-long observance in May, aligning with International Nurses Day on May 12, proclaimed by the International Council of Nurses. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has been instrumental in promoting and expanding National Nurses Month, officially designating May as the month of celebration.

Each year, ANA selects a theme to highlight various aspects of nursing excellence, professional development, and the positive impact of nurses on healthcare. However, for National Nurses Month 2024, VA has taken the initiative to embrace its own theme, “Advancing Nursing, Transforming Healthcare.”

The ceremony held at the Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center was “as an overall celebration of our entire nursing staff to recognize the hard work and heart that nurses put in daily to serve our Veterans,” said Bryan Adams, a Registered Nurse at Phoenix VA.

Keynote Presenter, Col. Deborah Lekher (ret.) said, “nurses are so important to our life,” speaking from her personal experience as a civilian nurse and a military nurse. “We’re the ones that were there,” referencing her time being deployed. Nurses in the 21st century are the glue that holds our patients’ health together across the entire patient experience and wherever there is someone in need, nurses work tirelessly to identify and protect those needs.”

Lekher also shared, that military nursing taught her many lessons and molded her into the nurse she is today. “Serving in the military taught me to be humble,” she said.

In addition to the Nurses Week Celebration, Phoenix VA nurses participated in daily activities throughout the week to celebrate, from wearing team shirts to crazy socks and participating in a “White Out Day” along with other activities among their different nursing groups and specialties.

When asking nurses why they chose VA, several said, “It’s a privilege and an honor to serve our Veterans.”
Another nurse Geneva Perez said, “she wanted to serve not only her brother-in-law who had been an Army ranger for twenty years, but all Veterans by providing good quality health care” and to thank them personally for their service.