Since 1990, the week of May 6 – 12 has been designated as National Nurses Week. It is a time to celebrate and honor those in the nursing profession and recognize the compassionate care they give throughout the year.
According to nursingworld.org, the week was first observed unofficially in 1954 to mark the observance of the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Through the years, numerous legislators and representatives rallied to support a formal observation but it was not until 1982 that a proclamation was signed by President Ronald Reagan declaring May 6 as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.” In 1990, the American Nurses Association expanded the recognition to a week-long celebration ending on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
Nursing has evolved greatly over the years and at VMRC, that is no different. Kristi Tate, the longest-tenured nurse at VMRC, will soon be celebrating her 40th anniversary. Kristi started as a staff nurse in 1981 in what was then the Virginia Mennonite Home. In 1987, she moved to the newly built Oak Lea as a charge nurse on the Shenandoah neighborhood. From there, she worked in restorative nursing and then moved to her current role as MDS Coordinator. She’s seen a lot of development and change in her time here. Some of the most notable include the movement of Restorative Nursing in the early 1980s and the growth of technology in nursing.
“Restorative Nursing was a whole new concept back then with the idea being to maintain or improve the abilities of a resident or patient. We walked with residents and had exercise classes. It’s hard to imagine now, but there was some resistance to it at the time,” said Kristi. The focus on wellness and restoring became an integral part of resident-centered care and the addition of Woodland Park, especially, honed that. She continued, “Many of the things we did in Restorative Nursing moved into the houses with the opening of Woodland Park.”
Moving from hand-written to electronic charting is another huge change in the industry. “I remember when all medications for the month were written by hand. A nurse had to write out the information for each day and then go back and sign each page. Eventually, that became a pharmacy print-out and now it’s all electronic,” said Kristi.
One other change Kristi is grateful for is the use of central air. She said, “When I started at Virginia Mennonite Home, there was no central air and we used floor fans to stay cool. When newer buildings came along that had it, it was a welcome addition!”
Pictured Above: Kristi Tate