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This Nurses Week, let’s celebrate — and do good for our nurses

Have you ever thought about how many titles nurses hold? Caregiver, cheerleader, lawyer, friend, and counselor are a few that come to mind.

It is a remarkable job. Nurses are the first to see us enter the world and from then on they are with us when we need them throughout our life journey.

Their work is sacred. And we should all take notice.

As Central Floridians, we are fortunate to live in an area with a robust healthcare ecosystem, with leading clinicians and institutions. But this ecosystem is only as strong as our nurses, who are its cornerstone.

Through my counseling service with AdventHealth, I have had the privilege of seeing, firsthand, our nurses in action. As we mark National Nurses Week (May 6-12), it’s a time to celebrate nurses and reflect on the future of this vital profession.

As robust as it is today, our health care system here in Central Florida and across the country faces a challenge. As America ages – and aging Americans live longer, requiring more care – we have fewer nurses than we need. This was true before the onset of COVID-19. But the pandemic has accelerated the trend, as some nurses are burning out, retiring or turning to new career fields.

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According to the Florida Hospital Association, our state will face a shortage of approximately 60,000 nurses by 2035.

And so, I would like to issue a call to action.

As a society, we adhere to certain professions, such as firefighters and police officers. As well we should. But nurses, who are also saviors, putting their own lives on the line in the service of others, deserve the same respect and esteem.

Collectively, we must restore the nursing profession to a place of honor and appropriate value. It is a form of public service, with altruistic and mission-oriented motivations.

When you receive medical care, treat your nurses with respect. If you know one, or if you have the opportunity, thank a nurse. Encourage a young person you know to consider nursing or support one who has chosen this path.

In addition to excellent health care, we Central Floridians are also blessed with a growing youth population, a top-notch education system, and a civic will to tackle tough issues. It will take all of these things and a shift in mindset for this to happen. And I believe we are up to the challenge.

Dick Batchelor is the President of Dick Batchelor Management Group and a member of the Central Florida 100.