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Nurses Week

Welcome  to National Nurses Week
May 6 - 12, 2011

Karen Hammond, MSN RN
Director of Nursing, Hagerstown Community College

National Nurses Week was designed to commemorate the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's work during her assignment during the Crimean War in Turkey. In 1996, the American Nurses' Association designated May 6-12 as the permanent celebration week for nurses because Nightingale's birthday is May 12.

Florence Nightingale sought out this profession to care for the indigent, poor, suffering and dying at a time when it was socially unacceptable for women to care physically for these individuals. She was an activist and feminist who had a goal of caring for the oppressed of the world.

Historians say what made her so unique is that she always focused on the problems of her patients and how to improve their care. In my experience in nursing, the most similar trait reflective in all nurses is this same uniqueness. Nurses always try to react and improve upon the eventual outcomes. In my varied roles as a staff nurse, charge nurse, and nursing educator, it has always been my personal experience to recall that while we perform our duties, no matter what, we always focus on the underlying problems and help to bring about change.

As this week of celebration comes again this year, reflect on the work that you do, and acknowledge the work done by your nursing colleagues. Recognizing the excellent work done by nurses, and inspiring each other to make a difference each and every day, is perhaps the best way we may build a healthy tomorrow. Please join me in celebrating the men and women who serve this country by caring for its citizens.

Nursing History

History of Nursing

The roots of nursing have been tied to the work of Florence Nightingale in the Crimea War from the mid-1800 to the present. Nurses are known to protect, promote and improve the health and the abilities of their patients by using tactile stimulation and serve as an advocate in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations. The holistic and human response is what defines nursing and sets it apart from every other profession. As we celebrate and honor our past and embrace our future, let us continue to serve our patients with the same legacy of care and love as our nursing pioneers.

Learn more about nursing history.

Nursing Program History slideshow

Nursing Pioneers

Florence Nightingale: Nursing’s most notable early figure, the founder of the first training school for nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital London and pioneer for nursing documentation with a unique body of knowledge.

Dorothea L. Dix: Known to improve the treatment of the mentally ill.

Susie King Taylor: First Black Civil War Nurse.

Mary Breckenridge: Nurse and Midwife, established the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, known today as the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS).

Clara Barton: Founder of the American Red Cross.

Linda Richards: America’s first trained nurse.

Mary Mahoney: First professionally educated African American Nurse.

Isabel Hampton: Founded Nurses Association Alumnae of the United States and Canada.

Lillian Wald: Pioneer of Public Health in Nursing; Known for the Henry Street Settlement.

Jessie Sleet Scales: First Black Public Health Nurse.


Nursing Facts

Learn more about National Nurses Week from the American Nurses Association 2010.


Considering Nursing?

ANA'S Definition of Nursing

"Nursing is the protection, promotion, and optimization of health and abilities, prevention of illness and injury, alleviation of suffering through the diagnosis and treatment of human response, and advocacy in the care of individuals, families, communities, and populations."

(Nursing's Social Policy Statement, Second Edition, 2003, p. 6 & Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 2004, p. 7)

In the first half of 2006, over 65,000 persons were newly licensed as registered nurses, joining 2.9 million other RNs in the nation’s largest health care profession. Each followed a distinct path of education to become a registered nurse and, after obtaining the RN license, increased his or her expertise as a direct health care provider in work settings ranging from acute care hospitals to home and community centers to corporate work sites. From the basic education required of an RN to the advanced educational and clinical paths taken by more experienced nurses, the depth and breadth of the nursing profession is meeting different health care needs of the population.


More About Nursing

  • What is Nursing?
    What is a Nurse? What is Nursing? Here are some definitions of the profession.
  • Nursing Education
  • Licensing
  • The Nursing Process: A Common Thread Amongst All Nurses
  • More About RNs and Advanced Practice RNs
  • Fields of nursing and different nursing specialties
  • Getting Started on Your Nursing Career
  • Preparing for nursing school and getting financial assistance
  • The Importance of Belonging to Your Professional Organization
  • References for This Section of our Site

Learn more at: 2010 The American Nurses Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved
American Nurses Association - 8515 Georgia Avenue - Suite 400 - Silver Spring, MD 20910


Nursing Innovation at Hagerstown Community College

Nursing Simulation Grant

Deb McClain, BSN, RN
Nursing Training Grant Director, CNA/GNA/CMA Program Coordinator 

Hagerstown Community College was awarded a nursing simulation grant in July 2009 from the Maryland Higher Education Commission to build the Maryland Community College Simulation Users Network, a collaborative effort between all the community colleges in the state of Maryland.  Hagerstown Community College is taking on this leadership role because its simulation facilities and equipment are the most advanced of all Maryland Community Colleges.

The overall goal of this grant is to bring together the community colleges in Maryland to work on advancing simulation education for faculty and staff. This grant will provide the training, support and the experience needed to integrate simulation into the current curriculum. The simulation labs provide students with the opportunity to fine tune skills needed for common patient scenarios. But more importantly, it allows the opportunity to experience rarely seen patient diagnoses, reactions and complications. This grant is an exciting opportunity for HCC to supplement the utilization of our state of the art newly renovated career program building.



Susan Payne, BSN, RN
Coordinator of Simulation Laboratories, Hagerstown Community College

Hagerstown Community College is fortunate to have four state of the art simulation labs. These labs provide a variety of realistic clinical experiences for our Register Nurse, Practical Nurse, and Certified Nurse Assistant students who attend here.  The students utilize these labs to learn new skills, as well as to practice previously learned ones in a safe controlled environment. The simulation labs are all equipped with cameras and video recording equipment to tape the students for evaluation and debriefing purposes.

Each lab is designed to replicate a hospital setting, and contain actual medical equipment and supplies.  In addition, the labs contain medium fidelity and high fidelity manikins which act as “patients” for the students to care for and perform their skills on. These manikins are equipped with many features to give the students a realistic experience. The manikins can be programmed to exhibit a variety of medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetic coma, allergic reaction, shock, and a myocardial infarction.

They come with pre-recorded statements such as, "I'm in pain", and "I can't breathe".  They can also moan, cough, and sound like they are vomiting. Our two high fidelity manikins have a microphone imbedded in them, which allows lab staff to speak for the manikin. The students are able to carry on a conversation with the manikin adding to the realism of the event. These manikins can be used to teach many nursing skills such as performing blood pressures, auscultation of breath sounds, heart sounds and bowel sounds, administration of intravenous fluids, subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, performing dressing changes and ostomy care, the insertion of endotrachial tubes, nasogastric tubes, urinary catheters, and defibrillation.

I am honored to be a part of such great clinical innovation which educates our nursing students to provide quality, safe patient care.

Nursing Program Labs slideshow

The Importance of Clinical Simulation:

We are living in an era of advancement of innovations in nursing education technology.  Therefore, most colleges are implementing the innovation of clinical simulation by using a computerized manikin   to simulate a real patient.  This simulated experience provides students with the opportunity to enhance their learning and improve skill proficiency. 
 Hagerstown Community College is one of the colleges in the State of Maryland that embraced innovation and providing students with state of the art simulation labs.  Simulated experiences provide students with the opportunity to acquire new knowledge, clinical experience, working together as a team, and building skills proficiency.

This is a way of life for the students at Hagerstown Community College, as they acquire new clinical skills using clinical scenarios in the comfort of their own simulation labs. There experience in the lab promotes self-confidence at the clinical site. 

The integration of clinical simulation in the curriculum is an advantageous teaching strategy for educators to use to promote student centered learning, which challenges the students to think critically and implement the best clinical judgment.  Besides, educators have the opportunity for debridement and corrective action of clinical skills.  In addition, simulation promotes essential communication and coordination of skills for students, which serve as a guide for interdisciplinary collaboration, which promote patient safety and quality outcome.

-Integration of Computer Simulation in Maternal Child Health, Fall 2010

Michele Blash, MSN, RN
Assistant Professor Nursing Department
Co-Coordinator, Licensed Practical Nursing Program

Nursing students at Hagerstown Community College can pursue a career in nursing through the Licensed Practical Nurse program or the Registered Nurse program.

The practical nursing program is a 1 year program which awards students a certificate in Practical Nursing and allows them to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). Practicing LPNs also have the option to return to school via the LPN transition program to obtain their associate degree in nursing and practice as an RN.

The Registered Nursing program is a two year program where the student is awarded a Nursing Associate of Science Degree with the successful completion of the program.   For students who wish to continue their education beyond the Associate Science of Degree, Hagerstown Community College also participates in articulation agreements with colleges and universities statewide that offer baccalaureate degrees in nursing.

Having both nursing programs allows students to choose the best option suited to individual career needs and lifestyles. As workforce needs change our programs provide opportunities for students pursuing their first career or possibly a career change. All of the nursing faculty are dedicated to helping students fulfill their dreams of becoming a nurse.

Learn more about Hagerstown Community College's Nursing Programs.