KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — May 6 marks National Nurses Day and also kicks off the start of National Nurses Week, which runs through May 12. The American Nurses Association says nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s health care journey together, working tirelessly to identify and protect patient needs.

National Nurses Day and National Nurses Week are opportunities to celebrate nurses and their vast, positive impact on American lives. East Tennessee is home to hundreds of nurses who impact lives and patient care 24-7.

While nursing is sometimes described as a science while hours of education are needed to obtain degrees, certifications and licensing, nursing is also viewed as an art in human relations. Registered and practical nurses are often licensed by the state in which they practice, and their duties and responsibilities while on the job range among a variety of care – from schools, to hospitals, hospice care, family care and more.

In Tennessee, there are hundreds of thousands of licensed registered nurses, aides, and practical or advanced practice nurses. Tennessee’s Board of Nursing was created in 1911, according to the state department of health, when the nursing board was enacted by the state legislature and signed into law by former Gov. Ben W. Hooper.

“The board’s mission is to safeguard the health, safety and welfare of Tennesseans by requiring that all who practice nursing within this state are qualified and licensed to practice.”

East Tennessee and the greater Knoxville area host hundreds of nurses who help and engage with patient care daily and nightly. Their efforts do not go unnoticed. Friday morning, Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler posted to social media his appreciation for the KCSO nursing staff.

“I would like to thank the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Nursing staff for their dedication to KCSO and their service to our community. My wife, Linda, is a retired Nurse, and my oldest daughter Mellony is also a nurse. I know firsthand how challenging being a nurse can be. We applaud you and want you to know we are grateful you’ve chosen the Knox County Sheriff’s Office as your home.”

-Tom Spangler, Sheriff

National Nurses Week runs through May 12, which is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale was a British nurse who is considered the founder of modern nursing; helping to train nurses and writing hundreds of books, pamphlets and more on health-related issues.

Freebies for Nurses

According to the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, National Nurses Day and National Nurses Week has expanded to a month-long celebration for the month of May and there are several offers and “freebies” from American companies.

The list of freebies includes food and drinks, retail, and travel. Most companies require nurses to show their industry identification for discounts or freebies offered.