Last week (May 6-12) was National Nurses Week celebrating the role nurses play in our communities, our families and our lives. May 12 was Florence Nightingale’s birthday, so it’s only fitting that the American Nurses Association chose the founder of modern nursing’s birthday as a good time to support and encourage those in the nursing profession.

To honor and celebrate National Nurses Week, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson Alex Gorsky wrote an Op-Ed in the Huffington Post. “Nurses are true superheroes,” Gorsky wrote, “working to meet society’s greatest challenge — health care. National Nurses Week (May 6-12) allows our nation to officially recognize these incredible individuals and say thank you.”

Gorsky acknowledged the global shortage of nurses and the growing healthcare needs of an aging population, care that will need to be delivered by our nation’s nurses. This growth will also increase the demand for hospice nurses.

National Association of Home Care & Hospice President Val J. Halamadaris took a moment to recognize the unique challenges faced in the hospice industry. “With everything nurses do for others, the least we can do is recognize them for the service and care they provide.” Her group is working hard “to recognize home care and hospice nurses who provide exceptional care, reduce hospital readmissions, and change their patients’ lives for the better.”

Nurses in the home health, hospice and palliative care arena are at greater risk of nursing burnout, compassion fatigue and neglecting their own mental health and well-being. National Nurses week is a good time to recognize hospice nurses’ critical role in the care and support of patients and families facing the end of life. Setting aside a week to pamper and celebrate hospice nurses is a great idea, but the issues they face require attention all  year long. Careful attention to reducing long hours and decreasing burnout should be an everyday consideration and an acknowledgment of how important they are every day.

If your hospice nurses are experiencing the warning signs of burnout as a result of the growing demands of the hospice care industry, maybe we can help. Call AfterHours Triage at 888.260.8460 to learn more about what RN-staffed after hours telephone triage can do to reduce burnout in your hospice organization.