National Nurses Week began on May 6 and concludes May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the pioneer of modern nursing.

Nurses practice in a variety of settings including hospitals, offices, clinics, rehabilitation and long-term care, home health, hospice, schools, correctional facilities and the military. We are clinicians, educators, researchers, consultants and leaders. We render and coordinate care, educate, advise, and attend to the psychosocial needs of patients and families.

Nurses comprise the largest segment of the health-care workforce. The Maine State Board of Nursing lists approximately 23,000 licensed nurses, including just over 1,700 advanced practice nurses — nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, clinical specialists and nurse anesthetists. Our job market is expected to grow by 16 percent through 2024, as there is greater emphasis on preventive care, as baby boomers age, and as access to care expands.

Nursing faculty at Maine’s colleges and universities prepare graduates at the associate, baccalaureate and master’s levels. Last year, the University of Southern Maine awarded the first doctoral level nursing degrees in our state.

Our profession is remarkably satisfying and rewarding. In the recent Gallup poll measuring the public’s perception of professional honesty and ethics, nurses again topped the list. It is a significant honor to retain the public trust. We practice the art and science of nursing as we care for people across the age continuum in all states of health.

We touch lives; those lives touch us. Please join in recognizing National Nurses Week.

Patricia Boston, RN

President

American Nurses Association — Maine