ANAANA InsightsFrom your ANA President

Applause and accolades

By: Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, President, American Nurses Association

Nurses Month recognizes nurses’ indelible contributions.

Each May during National Nurses Month, the American Nurses Association (ANA), our constituent and state nurses associations, and healthcare organizations nationwide acknowledge and celebrate RNs for their indelible contributions and unwavering commitment to their patients, communities, and our healthcare system.

This month of recognition, with the theme You Make a Difference, gives organizations such as ANA, employers, our healthcare colleagues, the public, and even ourselves the opportunity to recognize the extraordinary work of all nurses (

We’re there for others in so many ways—as providers and care managers, educators and advocates, entrepreneurs and innovators, researchers and leaders, and more. This dedication underscores the need to refocus on ourselves. Doing so will enable us to be there over the long term for those we serve. Week 1 of Nurses Month calls for this attention to self-care. I urge all nurses to carve out as much time as possible to do the things most meaningful to themselves, that bring joy and happiness. Resources such as Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ and the Well-Being Initiative—both offered for free by the ANA Enterprise—provide readily accessible tools that support mind and body health.

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Recognition, the Week 2 theme, could come in various forms such as organizational, mayoral, or gubernatorial proclamations. The key point is that our colleagues, employers, and public officials acknowledge nurses’ immense, and truly unique, involvement in healthcare.

The theme of Week 3, Professional Development, reminds us we have much to gain from advancing our knowledge, skills, and competencies. Enhancing and demonstrating our know-how could open us to new career opportunities, higher pay, or more fulfilling roles.

An original way for nurses to support their professional development is to apply for a national provider identifier (NPI), a unique number used to identify individual providers and associate them with the care they deliver. Having an NPI is the first step to being seen as a stakeholder in healthcare payment systems. Traditionally, we think of NPIs as a way for advanced practice RNs to bill Medicare and Medicaid. However, ANA encourages all RNs to obtain an NPI ( Even if you don’t bill or don’t think you will, getting an NPI would make an important contribution to our profession. This building block will support quantitative analyses and substantive demonstration of nurses’ roles and value as integral members of the healthcare team.

The Nurses Month webinar on May 17 straddles both Professional Development and Community Engagement, the theme of Week 4. In a dynamic presentation, ANA’s policy and government affairs team will present a case study on how nurses working collectively at the grassroots, state, and federal levels are effecting substantive changes in workplace violence prevention ( Like so many issues confounding our profession today, this complex problem defies a single solution, and only by working together can we make further inroads. This deep advocacy dive will illustrate the power nurses have in engaging civic and healthcare leaders on key issues. By empowering ourselves, we elevate the profession, evolve nursing practice, and ensure our professional success. Ultimately, this benefits our patients.

Applause and accolades rightly will flow from a good many sources to nurses during National Nurses Month. To these, I’d like to add one more. During this month of recognition, I’m asking all nurses to reach out to a fellow nurse and let that individual know how they’re valued. Praise from external sources matters, but the respect and acknowledgement from someone who knows intimately our travails and triumphs carries the day, every day.

Jennifer Mensik Kennedy,
PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, President,
American Nurses Association

American Nurse Journal. 2023; 18(5). Doi: 10.51256/ANJ052322

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