Nurses Week in Pennsylvania May 6-12

To acknowledge nursing professionals throughout the state who strive to provide safe, high quality patient care for all Pennsylvanians, Governor Edward G. Rendell has proclaimed May 6-12 as Pennsylvania Nurses Week.

“Nurses play a critical and growing role in providing quality health care and their work is too often underappreciated or overlooked,” Governor Rendell said. “During this special week, we applaud their commitment to patient safety and to shaping public health policy that will benefit our citizens today and in the future.”

As health care changes, the partnership between nurses, doctors, physician assistants and other health care professionals is more important than ever. With an aging population and more people in need of health care, nurses are being called upon to provide a greater level of care to patients.

Governor Rendell made a commitment to providing health care providers, including nurses, the expanded tools they need to provide that greater level of care. In 2007, Governor Rendell signed into law HB 1253, the Scope of Practice Bill. The legislation expanded the scope of practice for Certified Registered Nurse Practitioners, or CRNP, to allow them to practice to the fullest extent of their education and training by removing barriers to practice in specific cases where CRNP’s are capable of providing services currently reserved only for physicians.

In 2008, there were 172,550 registered nurses and licensed practical nurses statewide, working in traditional health care settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices, and also in private industry and businesses.

Governor Rendell was recently appointed Chair of the American Academy of Nurses’ “Raise the Voice” Advisory Council, succeeding former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala. Through its awareness campaign, the Academy is working to inform policymakers and the public about the exciting possibilities for transforming the health care system – and how nurses are leading the way.

“The demand for highly trained professional nurses will continue to grow, especially with all of the changes as a result of health care reform. We must continue to try to meet those demands,” added Governor Rendell.

This year, the National Nurses Week theme is “Nurses: Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow.” The special week is celebrated annually beginning May 6, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The week focuses on highlighting the diverse ways in which nurses are working to improve health care across the nation.

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