Nurses Week 2019: Our Reasons to Celebrate

We asked, and you answered: In honor of National Nurses Week 2019, what is your reason to celebrate?

One reason to celebrate nurses is their tireless dedication to the next generation of nurses. I shared this thank you with preceptors at an event last month, but I want to extend this to all nursing preceptors across the nation: Your passion for preparing our nursing students for their careers is inspirational. Your knowledge and experience are so important for our students' clinical education, and your patience in mentoring is invaluable and critical to their success. We are eternally grateful for your commitment and dedication.

-Marsha Lewis, Dean, University at Buffalo School of Nursing

The lifeline in my journey

While I believe we should always celebrate nurses, this year I have a very personal reason to celebrate the nurses in my life! After my diagnosis of breast cancer last June and the beginning of my yearlong journey to a cure, nurses have become my lifeline in every aspect of my journey. Through my surgery, chemo and radiation, nurses have been the one constant I can depend on to be there to help me through my fears, uncertainties and triumphs. I do not think that the nurses who have shown me compassion, patience and care in the past year realize the impact they have had on my ability to deal with my diagnosis and be victorious over cancer! I will be forever grateful to my family of nurses at UB School of Nursing who have lifted me up during the scariest time of my life, the nurses in my own family who truly understood what I am going through and to all the nurses in the hospitals, clinics and doctor's offices who truly are my lifeline to winning my battle! Thank you for choosing to be a nurse -- you truly make a difference in the lives of your patients!          

-Gerri Kremer, Director of Resource Management, School of Nursing, University at Buffalo 

Safety and support

When I was in an abusive and unsafe relationship, it was the nurses at a free clinic who provided me with the resources to get safe. I had no one to turn to at the time, so I am eternally grateful to them for potentially saving my life. I celebrate nurses because they were there for me at a time when I was scared and alone.


Faces of compassion and hard work

As a midwife, social worker and perinatal mental health researcher, I have had the opportunity to work with nurses in both clinical and research settings. What I have really appreciated about the nurses I have had the privilege to know is their dedication to providing compassionate care, and their willingness to roll up their sleeves and do the hard things that need doing in order to ultimately best serve their patients and medicine at large. It is not easy work, and they do not often get accolades for this; but they see the needs and they meet them nonetheless. They are the face of compassion for those in extreme circumstances.

-Mickey Sperlich, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University at Buffalo

Collaborative community advocates

I myself am a registered nurse, and I work with a group of nurses who epitomize teamwork. I know that I can count on nurses to drop everything and run to help during a time of need. Nurses work together to save lives in both small and big ways. They are the voice, eyes, ears, and limbs of vulnerable patients. They are the compassionate caretakers and advocates that our community needs. Thank you for caring!

-Kelly Gleason RN, BSN, MPH Student, University at Buffalo

Strength, heart and love

My mom is an oncology nurse and has been for almost twenty years now. She went to nursing school out of high school, but failed and decided to become a lab tech instead. Once I was in kindergarten (I was the youngest) she went back to nursing school and she crushed it. I admire her so much for her determination to go back and how compassionate she is now. Working as an oncology nurse can be quite heavy on the heart and the love she shows towards her patients and her work is truly inspirational. 

-McKenzie Kuehlewind, UB Student, Public Health Academic Programs

First line of defense

My step-mom is a nurse and she is my first line of defense for any medical issue.  She has saved me from unnecessary waits in the doctor’s office many of times.

-Lucia Leone, Assistant Professor, Community Health and Health Behavior, University at Buffalo

The backbone of health care, and a shining light

I have worked in health care for nearly thirty years, and I can say without hesitation that nurses are the backbone of our system.  I love working with physicians, but the people on the frontline, every day, all day, are nurses.  They get into the profession because they care about people — not diseases, not organs, certainly not money —  but real people, our Moms and Dads and kids and neighbors, who often come into our confusing health care system vulnerable and concerned. Good nurses wrap care around them and guide them to recovery.

I can’t tell you the number of times nurses have made me look good. I love the story of Florence Nightengale and “the Lady with the Lamp,” as it symbolizes the work nurses do every day — going through our health care system, shining a light, and caring for people.

-Larry Zielinski, Executive in Residence, Health Care Administration, School of Management, University at Buffalo

Humor, and a light in the darkness

Dedicated to Matt, Tom, and Nancy Owen (a multi-generational family of nurses): We celebrate the humor and light you so selflessly share with patients every day. Thank you for making the darkest days easier with your compassion and love; it is truly never forgotten.

-Kayla Rizzo, Staff Assistant for Resource Management, Office of the Provost, University at Buffalo

With us through the toughest and the most beautiful times (and laugh at dad jokes)

To the nurses who took care of me when I was involved in a fatal car accident while in college, who reminded me that sometimes bad things happen to good people, and who stayed up and talked with me during their night shift when I really just missed my mom. To the nurses who took care of my dad (and put up with all of his dad jokes) while he was going through a bone marrow transplant for multiple myeloma. To the nurses who helped my mom bring me into the world. To my friends and family who are nurses and the students I work with now who strive to someday become nurses. Thank you.

-Justine Rumbel, Assistant Director of Transfer Experience & Summer/Winter Sessions, University at Buffalo

Truly caring and kind

I had the best nurse (Linda at Suburban) to help prepare and keep me calm when I had to have a c-section. She was my nurse for two nights in [labor and delivery]. She also stayed through the surgery and to meet the baby even though it ended after her shift and she was leaving for vacation the same day! I will not forget her kindness and company. We also had some pretty great nurses and nursing students during our stay in the mother-baby unit as well!


Answering a higher calling

I had surgery last Fall. The nurses who cared for me prior to, during, and after my surgery were incredibly caring people. A couple in particular attended to me not only physically, but calmed my emotions, and arranged for ministers of my faith to come to me for comfort. One of the nurses has been at it for a long time and could easily be desensitized but instead brings skill, good humor, and humanity to here work on the night shift. The other, much younger is obviously well attuned to nursing and comforting people on every conceivable level. Whoever says that nursing is a calling from God is right!

-Don L. Erb, BOMA Fellow, RPA, FMA, Senior Sustainability Associate, University at Buffalo

Selfless, hardworking and highly skilled

When I think of nurses, words like hard-working, selfless, caring, dedicated, and professionalism come to mind.  I’ve worked with several former nurses here at UB and of course interacted with many during medical treatment, and was repeatedly impressed by their knowledge and skills.

-Hugh Jarvis, Cybrarian, University at Buffalo

Dedicated, empathetic, selfless...

Empathetic, caring, selfless, dedicated, hardworking, strong, intelligent – these are the traits I think of when I think of nurses.


She knows: "It takes a special person to be a nurse..."

My mom is a nurse, my sister is a nurse and my husband is a nurse! I have first-hand knowledge of their hard work, dedication, and compassion. My mom always wanted to be a nurse, but her family came on hard times, and it wasn’t an option for her. She had to get a job and help support her family, see her father died when she was just nine years old and my mom had to help raise and support her four younger sisters.  However, my mom never forgot her dream. When she was in her early 50s her time came, she went to nursing school and practiced for over 20 years on a med/surg floor with a hospice unit. She would often tell me how it’s the nurse’s job to advocate and be there for patients, sometimes just explaining things to them, and easing their fears, and holding their hand when they are alone or passing on.   

Over her career, my sister has worked in oncology, orthopedics, telemetry, ICU, OR and interventional radiology and I’m sure has saved many lives. She is dedicated, knowledgeable and treats her patients as she would want her family members to be treated. 

My husband works in the ER and is perfectly suited to this fast-paced, urgent environment. In his position, he has seen everything from cuts, to heart attacks, to gunshot wounds and dealt with all ages from infants to the elderly. He saves people’s lives on a daily basis.  They always call him to put in IVs because he never has to stick a patient more than once. He is kind to his patients and their families and helps to lower the stress level of being in the ER by explaining everything and being compassionate. 

It takes a special person to be a nurse. I have so much respect for these three people in my life, but also for all the nurses out there who go to work each day to make it a better day for someone else.        

-Jodi Valenti-Protas, Office of Inclusive Excellence, University at Buffalo

Invaluable resources and role models

Growing up without a mom or female role model, I had a tough time in my teen years. Thanks to my middle and high school nurses for answering my (sometimes silly) questions. You'll never know how much I appreciate you going above and beyond for me.


The voice of patient care

I can think of 10 million reasons PLUS to honor and celebrate the profession of nursing! I am humbled by the amazing voice that nurses have in regards to patient care and health care each day!

-Karen Ziemianski, RN, MS, Senior Vice President of Nursing, Erie County Medical Center Corporation

Teachers of life lessons

I have so many reasons to celebrate nurses, both personally and professionally. I have been with the UB School of Nursing for more than five years now. During this time, I have learned so much from our students and faculty -- don't sweat the small stuff, practice self care, always be ready and willing to learn new things, don't be afraid to ask for help, making a small gesture can make a huge difference in your life or someone elses', and that kindness and empathy hold incredible powers. These lessons help me both in and out of the office.

I have worked with students professionally for more than a decade now, and I must say nursing students are some of the most hardworking, kind, intelligent and RELENTLESS when it comes to ensuring they are doing the best they can in their program so that they may do their very best for their patients. Nursing school is no joke -- I have the utmost respect for all who power through. 

In many of our communications, we like to call ourselves a small, close-knit school with the resources of a large research university. For those lucky enough to be here, you do truly come to realize that the School of Nursing is a family. I feel blessed to have had their support, and I am honored to be in a position to show them gratitude and to share with the world the truly amazing things they do.

Thank you to all of the nurses who are a part of the University at Buffalo community, and thank you to the 4 million nurses across the nation who selflessly strive to better the health and well-being of our country and populations across the globe.

-Sarah Goldthrite, Director of Marketing, Communications & Alumni Engagement, University at Buffalo School of Nursing

Role models for compassion and community building

The nurses I work with on a regular basis in the Clinical Research Office at UB, including my bosses, work tirelessly for the benefit of the community. Consistently, they sacrifice their own time and their own interests for “what’s best for the patient.” For them, this is not an “aspirational goal” or “something to work towards.” Rather, it is the guiding principal by which they go about their day. In today’s world with all the horrifying headlines on TV, this kind of true compassion for fellow humans is something we should all work towards.

-Conor Flynn, JD, BS, Industry Sponsored Clinical Research Agreements, University at Buffalo Clinical Research Office

Thank you to all of UBSON’s clinical partners for advancing the education of our undergraduate and graduate nursing students. Most of us have seen the quote:

“Save one life and you’re a hero. Save a hundred lives and you’re a nurse.” We would like to extend this even further to show the impact you all have as preceptors to nursing students at all levels:

“Save a hundred lives and you’re a nurse. Precept one nursing student and you save the lives of hundreds more.”

Thank you all for paying it forward with our students.

-Catherine Mann, EdD, RN, CNS, CNE, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Studies, Clinical Associate Professor, & Loralee Sessanna, DNS, RN, CNS, AHN-BC, Assistant Dean, MS/DNP, Programs, Clinical Professor

To our RN partners from our immersion site agencies:

We are grateful to you for your time, guidance, care and commitment to your future nurse co-workers. In recognition of Nurses Week,  and with deep appreciation, we thank you!

Share your reasons to celebrate below: