Community colleges across the country have joined the American Nurses Association in honoring America’s 5 million registered nurses during National Nurses Week. Given the nature of the community college, I have a favorite phrase that I like to use for moments like these: “Everything we do is workforce development.” I think this is true whether we are educating accountants, cyber warriors, engineers, plumbers, HVAC technicians, or dancers and poets. And this week, we shine a spotlight on our nurses!

For 42 years, nurses have been recognized nationally for their contributions to the global village. Just two short years ago these “heroes of the heart” delivered in person patient care through a pandemic, bravely facing the harsh conditions of overcrowded emergency rooms and grueling extended hours on hospital floors. If any group embodies the spirit of compassion and care, it is those who chose the Nursing profession, and they deserve more than verbal accolades or paper hearts. They need and deserve the same care and support they provide for all of the rest of us.

A woman in scrubs holding a clipboard.

Community college nursing faculty and staff train the nurses we rely on for care.

In the spirit of it ain’t bragging if it’s true!, I am proud to boast that our college is the largest provider of undergraduate healthcare education in the state of Maryland. Our nursing faculty and staff educate and equip the workforce needed to fill the hospitals and medical centers we rely on for care. They are the ones who deserve thanks for preparing thousands of nursing students who enter our regional health care systems upon completion of the National Board Examinations.

By and large community college Nursing programs educate the larger share of our country’s Nursing corps. And what we know about Nursing students – no matter where they call home – is that just like their faculty, they are tough; they are dedicated; and they are smart. They not only survive, but they master a curriculum that demands the precision of a scientist, the compassion of a poet, and a high commitment to medical ethics. As they make their way through two grueling years of training, these students may not recognize their own talent and strength, but the colleges that educate and train them certainly do.

Therefore, this week we take the time to say how proud we are to celebrate both Nursing students and their amazing, committed faculty. We welcome them into the profession of the Clara Bartons, Florence Nightingales, and every one of the thousands upon thousands of women and men who have given their lives and careers over to ministering to the rest of us. Long ago, someone referred to nurses as “angels in comfortable shoes!” How proud we all are to have the privilege of educating this very special breed of “angels in comfortable shoes.”