National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6, the day that Florence Nightingale, the founder of professional nursing, went to the Crimean War as a nurse in 1853, and ends on her birthday – May 12.  During this week we acknowledge the excellence and dedication of those who choose the nursing profession. I grew up surrounded by nurses in a nursing home in Old Mystic, CT that my family owned and operated in the 1950s. My mother’s skills as a Registered Nurse also made her the go-to person for many emergencies around the village – cuts, burns and even broken bones, head injuries and emotional problems. Injured people would show up at the nursing home, like they do today at emergency rooms, except that she received no compensation other than the occasional basket of eggs or leg of lamb that might arrive later. I can still see my mother rushing from the bedside of an elderly person and calmly cleaning and dressing someone’s bloody wound after an accident down the street. On another occasion, I remember her carefully positioning a child’s possibly broken leg after a fall from a tree. Eventually, Dr. Ryley or Dr. Fowler would arrive from Mystic, but watching my mother and her nurse colleagues in action, day after day, offered me firsthand knowledge that nurses were the unsung heroines. They were the first responders in the old days. Nurses in war zones and military settings also did their job quietly and largely unnoticed, putting their lives in peril on […]