From a Grateful Nation: Thank You, Nurses

Thank You Nurses
Thank You Nurses

Learn more about Marymount's online nursing programs.

Long before there was even a whisper of COVID-19, 2020 was declared the “Year of the Nurse” by the World Health Organization. We at Marymount University had hopes and plans to thank you, our nurses, with a fun, year-long celebration of our vital caregivers.

But upon its arrival, 2020 offered a very different, much more somber approach to how the “Year of the Nurse” would be commemorated.

The novel coronavirus created a remarkable year for nurses. This microscopic infectious disease plunged the world into turmoil, bringing with it an onslaught of patients, a quick shortage of vital medical supplies and unprecedented risk for healthcare heroes.

You, nurses, rose to the challenge, masking-up and putting your own lives in jeopardy to honor your calling. You filled the desperate need for caregivers, bravely serving as the final bulwark against this deadly disease. You gracefully adapted to new protocols and innovated with new solutions. You filled in wherever you were needed, sometimes even traveling to the most-infected areas, working long shifts and serving as selfless examples of leadership in truly extraordinary times.


For all of this and more, we want to say: Thank you, nurses.

You have saved countless lives at great personal expense. In this open letter, we want to acknowledge your accomplishments in this, the “Year of the Nurse,” as we attempt to express our gratitude for all you do. It may not be the celebration we had hoped for, but it comes from the bottom of our hearts.

Nurse holding patient's hand

Thank you, nurses, for preserving our dignity.

In poetic-like symmetry, nurses are present in our lives from our first breath to our last, ushering us into this world with joy and helping us leave it with grace. Through it all, you treat us with respect. Thank you, nurses, for honoring our lives with your care. Thank you for witnessing our grand entrance into this wide world and holding our hand into the great beyond, wiping our faces and changing our bandages through all the years in between.

“My deep thanks and appreciation to Amy who cared for me during my heart cath. Due to previous surgeries I have an intense fear of needles, have limited mobility, cannot have my knees flat on a bed, am overweight, suffer incontinence, and have white coat syndrome which elevates my blood pressure. In spite of all of this, Amy treated me with respect and dignity the entire time while providing a calm and reassuring presence.”
- Linda Patten, Patient

Thank you, nurses, for cheering us on when we are at our most fragile.

We’re almost always at our most vulnerable in front of you, yet you encourage us and build us up. Thank you for being present at our lowest points: the worst diagnosis, the most painful treatment, the loss of loved ones or our own sense of hope.

But thank you for sharing our triumphs, too: the getting better, the kicking cancer, the first unsteady steps after a hip replacement, the unabashed joy of a long-awaited pregnancy.

“I just wanted to send you a message to thank you for your kindness and support during my labor. You were consistently kind, patient and understanding throughout the whole process. I really appreciate your sensitivity when I was emotional, and your encouraging attitude. Thank you so much for loving your job and doing it so well!”
- Susie Doerman, First-Time Mom

Thank you, nurses, for opening yourselves to our lives and offering kind words and encouragement that go above and beyond the call of physical care.

Bandaged hands holding a heart

Thank you, nurses, for choosing to serve, even when it means great personal sacrifice.

Working double-shifts, missing a child’s soccer game to sit with a sick patient, skipping breakfast, skipping dinner—it’s all considered “normal” sacrifice in the day-in-the-life of a working nurse.

But the last year has elevated that sacrifice to a new extreme. COVID-19 changed your everyday work into a ceaseless bombardment of possible exposure to a deadly virus. You were—and are—risking your own health for the lives of others, with the added fear that you could be infecting your loved ones at home.

Thank you, nurses, for making impossible choices on behalf of the health of our nation. Thank you for isolating yourself away from your families, sometimes going weeks without seeing spouses, parents and children.

“I feel very guilty for not being there for my husband and child. But I don’t want to put them at risk or, God forbid, get them sick.”

-Laura, Nurse in Portland, Oregon

To Laura, and all the other nurses like her, we are so grateful. We know your family is proud of you and can’t wait to have you back home. We promise to do our part to end this pandemic.

Recharging battery

Thank you, nurses, for remaining compassionate, despite your exhaustion.

Long days often lead to sleepless nights, but you’re always quick to offer us a kind word or a reassuring pat. Nurses, thank you for your patience, your understanding, your big-hearted capacity to care: day shift or graveyard, you keep us going.

Thank you, nurses, for working even longer hours and double shifts in 2020. And it’s not only your patients who notice. Everyone—doctors, administrators, aides—we all know that nurses are the backbone of our healthcare system.

“Each day, you choose to provide the best quality, compassionate and tender care for our residents; sometimes, but not always, a thankless job that can be overlooked.”

- Shannon Richardson, Healthcare Administrator

Thank you, nurses, for sharing a laugh even during life’s hard moments.

COVID-19 has added stress to all our lives, but healthcare workers bear the brunt of it. Thank you, nurses, for finding time to laugh and share a smile with us. You brighten our lives, daily.

“The nurses looking after my grandfather… in the Covid unit deserve a world of thanks. It was his birthday today, and they celebrated with him by hanging a banner, wore the silly hats, and took pictures for all of us to see… You all are the definition of what a nurse stands for.”

- Britnie Laubenstein, Grateful Daughter

Thank you, nurses, for giving a shoulder to lean on.

Very literally, carrying heavy loads is part of a nurse's day-to-day routine. When we are unable to lift our sick selves up, you help us shuffle to the bathroom or into a wheelchair. In fact, you do too much heavy lifting, with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reporting there are 75 lifting-related injuries for every 10,000 hospital workers, and even greater numbers for nurses who work in nursing homes.

But in a metaphorical sense, you also provide a shoulder to lean on—sometimes cry on—and an ear to listen, lifting our spirits as well as our bodies. Truly, in no other profession would changing a catheter, cleaning a gunshot wound, wiping a tear, exchanging a joke, brewing a hot tea, and holding the hand of a stranger be considered “all in a day’s work.” For that, too, we say: thank you, nurses.

Nurse taking blood pressure

Thank you, nurses, for saving our lives.

Research has found that nurses play a significant role in preventative health. Nurses, when conducting a health screening, “doubled the recorded blood pressure, quadrupled identification of smoking habit, and increased documented weight related issues by fivefold in a primary care setting.”

Maybe that comes as no surprise, but did you know nurses can be just as important to our health as doctors, and sometimes even more effective when it comes to getting patients to follow their treatment plan?

But your impact goes beyond the concrete walls of a clinic or hospital. Simply by being present in our lives, you make a positive change in our communities. Take Nurse Sarah, for example. On any given day she might advise the cashier at the market to get a prostate screening, remind a mother on the bus to get her young children vaccinated, and encourage teens in her neighborhood to stop smoking. Like so many of you, nurses, caring for others is integrated into her whole life.

Every day, outside of your working shift, you think about the health and well-being of the people around you. We appreciate the advice and care you give us. We’re in awe of what you do—you truly are superheroes.

Group holding hands in a heart shape

Thank you, nurses, for inspiring the next generation.

Young people around the world are watching your response to this pandemic. You’re stirring up a desire to do good, to treat others with compassion, to make a tangible difference in someone’s life, to care for people in times of need, to become the nurses of the future.

Thank you, nurses, for inspiring us with effortless grace.

And to the next generation of nurses, thank you for rising to the challenge, for recognizing the need and choosing to fill it.


Marymount University offers several online nursing programs so we can meet your educational needs wherever you are along your nursing journey. Whether you want to start a second career as a nurse, gain advanced skills with a doctor of nursing practice degree or become a family nurse practitioner, Marymount has a variety of programs to help you achieve your career goals and they’re 100% online. We’ll even handle your clinical placements so you can focus on the real work of fulfilling your dream.

Let us help you advance in your career with the right program for you.

The quotes and stories in this blog were provided by patients and families who received care from nurses at Carson Tahoe Health and Kettering Health Network.


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