Stirpe: Honor nurses for all they do during National Nurses Week

Al Stirpe

Nurses are essential to our health and well-being, providing critical care and support when you or your loved ones are sick or injured. They work in hospitals, medical offices, nursing homes, assisted living residences, the military, schools and on college campuses.

With chronic nursing staff shortages all over the country, we need to make it clear nurses are valued for their hard work and encourage young people to enter this rewarding profession. This year, National Nurses Week falls during the week of May 6-12, coinciding with the birthdate of Florence Nightingale on May 12. Nightingale was the founder of modern nursing and a role model of compassionate, committed, thoughtful health care. The scope of nurses’ work has grown dramatically since her time, when they mainly worked in hospitals.

Today, nurses perform tasks ranging from taking blood pressure and administering medications to being a communication link between doctors and patients and families, from taking health assessments to teaching workshops and classes. Nurses often do lifesaving research and even offer primary care, an area that suffers from a lack of providers.

In New York state, there are 293,151 registered nurses, 70,620 licensed practical nurses and 21,739 nurse practitioners. Without these committed professionals, our health care system could not function. Nurses are dedicated advocates for their patients and critical assets to any health care setting, and we need to ensure they have the support they need to do their jobs effectively.

Unfortunately, when nurses are tasked with too many patients at once, their ability to care for our health can be compromised. While we have many effective protocols at our local hospitals to help with staffing issues, many other hospitals and facilities in the state have been understaffed for far too long.

Last year, I supported the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act to address this problem (A.8580 of 2016). This legislation requires a minimum number of nurses per patients in acute care hospital and nursing home settings in order to ensure that nurses can deliver quality care to their patients. Studies show that lower nurse-to-patient ratios directly correlate with better health outcomes, shorter hospital stays and lower rates of infection, cardiac arrest, respiratory failure and falls. Adequate staffing also saves money and increases job satisfaction among nurses, resulting in lower turnover and savings for health care facilities.

Thank you, nurses, for all you do, and I’ll continue fighting to support you. For questions or comments about this or any other community issue, contact me at 315-452-1115 or

2 comments to Stirpe: Honor nurses for all they do during National Nurses Week

    This year we would like to recognize one of the many, many extraordinary nurses during Nurses Week 2017 with our second annual Spirit of Caring recognition.During the past few weeks we have received hundreds of nominations from around the country! Five finalists have been chosen and their stories are posted on Please take a few minutes to read each nominee’s story and then vote between May 5 and May 16. Results will be tallied and the winner will be announced on May 18. Vote TODAY and don’t forget to forward this newsletter to your colleagues so they can vote as well!

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