It’s National Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Week, which both celebrate two groups of people who help our community learn, stay healthy, and move forward.
As both these careers are historically staffed primarily by women, the YWCA National Capital Area wants to take some time this week to remind you of the impact these professions have on our well-being, along with honoring their acts of service.
A teacher’s impact goes beyond the classroom, leaving lasting impressions on students and their families. During the last few years, our teachers have had to innovate and engage students in new ways with little to no training, all while trying to keep themselves safe.
Yet, despite these innovations, teachers are being paid less, facing off with legislatures about how they teach our history & support LGBTQIA+ youth, and watching school boards ban books. For our teachers, the days are filled with more than History, English and Math lessons. Now, they must also prepare for potential gun violence at school. They are struggling and we need to help.
Similarly, our health care system continues to struggle, figuring out how to come out of years of unknowns and burnout. And, the heart and soul of the system–the nurses–are leaving in record numbers. According to a recent survey from AMN HealthCare, about 3 in 10 registered nurses say they are likely to leave their career because of the pandemic. In addition, a report from the National Council of State Boards of Nursing found that about 100,000 registered nurses have left the profession since 2020 and that more than 600,000 intend to leave by 2027.
We have to do better and find ways to support each of these vital community members. Here are some ways to help:
- Sign this pledge from the National Education Association in support of all educators.
- Pay attention to the legislative actions, both at the state and federal level, surrounding teacher pay. Here’s an excellent tracker of state-based teacher pay bills.
- Give back and say thank you to the teachers in your life. Volunteer in a school classroom. Share a note of thanks and gratitude in-person or on social media. Donate to your area schools. The National PTA has some great ideas about where to start!
- Support the mental health of local nurses. The American Nurses Foundation’s Well-Being Initiative offers resources that focus on caring for nurses as they tirelessly care for others. Share what they offer with the nurses in your community.
- Call your legislators and urge them to pass legislation that supports nurses and patient care. The National Nurses United (NNU), the nation’s largest union and professional association of registered nurses, asks for support for the following healthcare-focused legislative bills:
- The Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Care Act (S 1113/HR 2530), introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown and Rep. Jan Schakowsky
- The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (S 1176/HR 2663), introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Rep. Joe Courtney
- The Medicare for All Act, to be introduced soon by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Debbie Dingell.
- Say thank you! Bring a snack to your local hospital or doctor’s office. Shout out your appreciation on social media. Here are some ideas from Nurse.org!
CEO, YWCA National Capital Area