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Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor Honors Nurses during National Nurses Week

Image of military nurses Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor nurses ask the question, “I'm a nurse, what's your super power”?

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Oak Harbor, Washington—Naval Health Clinic Oak Harbor (NHCOH), a key component of the Military Health System (MHS), pays tribute to its nurse corps this week as part of the 2020 National Nurses Week observance.

NHCOH nurses had hoped to execute a number of activities May 6-12 to celebrate National Nurses Week.  Instead, they remain firm and resolute in accomplishing job one right now, protecting service members, their families and the MHS workforce while caring for patients as a final line of defense against COVID-19.

National Nurses Week has been a recognized event since 1954, with the week typically coinciding with Florence Nightingale’s birthday (May 12, 1820). This year, 2020, marks the 200th anniversary of Nightingale’s birth, and has been designated as the Year of the Nurse by the World Health Organization. Following that concept, the MHS theme of 2020 National Nurses Week is “Integrating for Excellence.”

Capt. Denise Gechas, NHCOH’s Executive Officer and a nurse herself, provided perspective in a recent interview.  "I've always been proud of being a Navy nurse, but during this time in history, watching nurses at the front line of the battle with COVID-19, my level of love and admiration for my corps and my profession is greater than ever. This is our time to illustrate our value and we have come together in the most amazing way. To all the military, civilian, and contract nurses in MHS and in the community, a heartfelt thank you for being there during these most challenging times."

Since the American Revolution, military nurses have served their country. Nurses have provided unique contributions to military medicine during peace time and conflict. Today, NHCOH nurses provide key contributions to the unified health care team’s role in support of current Department of Defense priorities to protect our service members, their families and our workforce; maintain military readiness to defend the nation and its interests; and support the national COVID-19 response.

“Our nurses are on the front line every day caring for our patients when they are most vulnerable,” said Capt. Steven Kewish, Commanding Officer of NHCOH.  “Nurses put them at ease and help their family members to cope, all while providing exceptional care. You are all heroes and I’m proud to serve with you each and every day.” Kewish concluded by saying, “Thank you for all that you do. Your selfless service is deeply appreciated."

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