[Virginia Golden, President of St. Peter’s Hospital and Albany Memorial Hospital, today shared the below memo with colleagues.]
Today starts the celebration of National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week and I wanted to personally extend my appreciation and gratitude to all our colleagues and members of our medical community who work each and every day to offer care and service to our community. Your dedication to our mission to be a transforming healing presence and bringing our values to life through your care, truly inspires.
The theme for this year’s National Nurses Week is “Nurses Inspire, Innovate, Influence” and the theme for National Hospital Week is “Caring Is Our Calling.” Both these weeks are aligned with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the “Pioneer of Professional Nursing” and is remembered for her service to British wounded soldiers at a military hospital in Crimea in 1854. It was there she created the environment and structure for hospitals we recognize today.
Florence Nightingale is a great role model for all of us – both nurses and those who choose to serve in health care. For Florence, as it should be for us, health care wasn’t a business – it was a mission and her service wasn’t a job but a calling. As we enter this week, I hope we will all commit to serving our patients, families and colleagues consistent with these principles. I also hope you will join us this week and over the next couple of weeks to celebrate our nurses and all our colleagues who provide care and service.
There are numerous recognition events planned including Meaningful Milestones, nursing appreciation opportunities, and our ice cream event this Friday and Saturday at St. Peter’s Hospital to express our appreciation for the outstanding services recently recognized by the Women’s Choice Awards. The Times Union Salute to Nurses celebration is this Friday, as well, and we are proud to have three of our SPHP nurses recognized for their excellence. Salute to Nurses, which honors exceptional nursing throughout our region, is sponsored by St. Peter’s Health Partners.
During this week, we remember the crisis that Florence faced at Scutari Barracks Hospital and recall that – through her own initiative, team work and dogged determination – she transformed how we care for those who are ill. Florence exemplified compassionate care through her constant rounding during the night – lamp in hand – providing care and comfort to the wounded British soldiers. She was known throughout her lifetime as the “Lady with the Lamp.” And when Florence could not save the soldiers’ lives, she wrote to their loved ones so those family members would know their loved one was cared for and comforted during their final hours. Today, we speak of person-centered care, leadership rounding, and care coordination but Florence lived those concepts almost 170 years ago.
So let us ask this week “What would Florence Do?” and exemplify the mission and values she exhibited. In her personal journal from that time she wrote: “We can do better than this. We must do better than this.” At this time of incredible change, I, too, think we can do better. We must do better. And with the extraordinary colleagues who represent St. Peter’s Health Partners, I know we will.