President’s Message: Thank You, AAMC Nurses

Sherry Perkins
Sherry B. Perkins, PhD, RN, FAAN, is president of Anne Arundel Medical Center.

On Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday, President and nurse Sherry Perkins praises today’s nurses for the incredible work they are doing.

Today is the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday and the end of Nurses Week. The World Health Organization (WHO) named 2020 the Year of the Nurse in recognition of Nightingale – the founder of modern nursing. The WHO could not have predicted what nurses and their teammates would see this year with COVID-19, nor the new definitions of health care heroism. In a recent interview with the media about our nurses and the AAMC team, I was proud to tell our community, “They aren’t just heroes; they’re superheroes.”

I am often asked to describe patient care; how to do that? In contemplating Nurses Week, I can think about important life events: emergency room visits, a parent in an ICU, the birth of a baby – a nurse is there with a team. A nurse is there knowing and caring, linking tenderness and mastery. Nurses know what it means for humans to be old, sick, weak, complex, and vulnerable. Nurses know how to prevent and treat infections, manage pain, teach, rescue, heal, console, and see problems before they occur. Nightingale was quoted as saying, “Live life when you have it. Life is a splendid gift – there is nothing small about it.”

On my first day of work less than four months ago, I described the AAMC team this way – “the unique mixture of science and caring…progressive expertise of our physicians, the dedication of our nurses, the excellence of our interprofessional clinical support partners, the acumen of our leadership and administrative team, the compassion of our auxilians and volunteers, the devotion of our patient and family advisors, and the governance of our board.” Each of you makes AAMC a unique place for our patients and our community. Even more I am awed by what a team you are.

Florence Nightingale would be proud. I know I am. Thank you for what you do for each other and for our patients and families.