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Let’s Celebrate National Nurses Week

By Stephen Tweed

The first week in May is National Nurses Week, and we pause for a moment to celebrate these amazing women and men who dedicate their lives to caring for others.  We are especially fond of those nurses in home health, hospice, and private duty nursing.  When we think of nurses and National Nurses Week, a couple of names come to mind:

Florence Nightingale – Changed the nature of professional nursing forever, when during the Crimean War in the 1850’s, she petitioned the British government to provide resources for better hygiene in battlefield aid states and hospitals. Her fight to reduce infection caused the death rate among wounded soldiers to drop dramatically. She then opened the very first school for nurses in London in 1860. This became the Florence Nightingale School for Nurses.

Clarissa Harlowe “Clara” Barton – Founded the American Red Cross after the Civil War in 1881, and led it for 23 years.  She had risked her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers on the battlefield.

Lillian Wald – Started American “Community Nursing”, and founded the Henry Street Nurses Settlement in New York, which ultimately became the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.  Wald is credited with the foundation of public health nursing in the US, and was the first President of the National Organization for Public Health Nursing.

Two other nurses have a special place in my heart:

Clayone Tweed – was a “Private Duty Nurse” in the small mountain town of Lock Haven, PA in the early 1950’s.  During WWII, she enlisted in the Army Nurse Corps, but the war ended before she served.  She went on to become the chief volunteer organizing nurses for the American Red Cross Blood Mobiles in Clinton County, PA. She was my mother, and went to be with the Lord on February 26, 2017 one day before her 92nd birthday.


Elizabeth Jeffries, RN, CSP, CPAE – is an award winning professional speaker, author, and executive coach serving hospitals, health systems, long term care companies, and home health agencies.  She’s also my wife and business partner. Elizabeth worked as an OR Nurse, hospital nurse executive, and leader of a rehabilitation company before becoming a full time professional speaker.  Elizabeth has presented hundreds of Nurses Week keynote speeches and seminars in hospitals and health systems around the US. Now she coaches CEOs and Chief Nursing Officers in hospitals, long term care, and home health care.

Please take a few moments this week to reach out and say “thanks” to a nurse for all they do to keep us going and to keep our businesses running.

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