MONDAY MAY 7, 2012
This week is both National Hospital Week and National Nurses Week, which happens to be a “happy coincidence.” As I like to say, nurses put the heart in healthcare, and it’s very often our nurses who are the “face” of hospitals and provide the human connection between New Jersey’s hospitals and the 18 million individuals they serve each year.
It’s fitting that I started the week in Washington, D.C., for the American Hospital Association’s Annual Meeting. Much of the meeting was focused on patient-centered care. Among the speakers was Teri Fontinot, the new chair of AHA and CEO of Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, La., who coined a new mantra: “If it’s right for the patient, then it’s right for the hospital.”
One of the freebies I received at the AHA meeting was a blue bracelet commemorating Hospital Week – blue, like those block H signs along our roadways that signal the path to the nearest hospital. We pass them every day, taking them for granted as they blend into the landscape. But in an emergency, those blue signs stand out like a beacon, leading to one of New Jersey’s 73 acute care hospitals that deliver healthcare services 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. It’s reassuring to know they’re there.
I’m asked very often how I like my job. And I can sincerely say I love it because I get to wear the white hat representing a part of society that takes care of people each and every day. But the true heroes are the hospital professionals who take care of our patients – including our nurses, the original “white hats.” So Happy Hospital Week and Happy Nurses Week – and thanks to both for their perfect synergy in taking care of our patients and our communities.