May 10, 2013

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Celebrates National Nurses Week

VALDOSTA — Valdosta Mayor John Gayle asked all citizens to join him in honoring all registered nurses during a special ceremony recognizing National Nurses Week, May 6-12, at Valdosta State University Thursday.

Addressing a crowd of VSU College of Nursing faculty and students, as well as South Georgia Medical Center and Smith Northview Hospital decision-makers and medical personnel, Gayle said, “Nursing is a service we don’t compliment enough sometimes, until we need you … but you’re always there.” He read and signed a proclamation declaring it National Nurses Week in Valdosta and urged everyone to celebrate the efforts of registered nurses to improve the health care system.

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens commended the working nurses and nursing students gathered on the front lawn of VSU’s S. Walter Martin Hall. He said that he appreciates all that they do and that he knows the value of nurses to all of the state’s citizens and their quality of life.

Also present at Thursday’s event was State Rep. Dexter Sharper, D-Valdosta; Bill Slaughter, chairman of the Lowndes County Board of Commissioners; and Larry Hanson, Valdosta city manager.

Every year, National Nurses Week focuses attention on the diverse ways America’s 3.1 million registered nurses work to save lives and improve the health of millions of individuals, according to the American Nurses Association. It began on May 6, or what is referred to as RN Recognition Day, and will end on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of nursing as a modern profession.

This year’s theme is “Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care.”

Traditionally, according to the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the diverse ways in which registered nurses are working to improve health care. RNs comprise the largest health care profession.

VSU was authorized by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia to offer a nursing program in 1967, effective fall quarter of 1968. Development of the program was facilitated by a request from the leaders of Pineview General Hospital, which later became South Georgia Medical Center, for help preparing registered nurses for the region.

VSU’s College of Nursing offers seven different academic programs, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, and, effective July 1, bachelor’s degrees in athletic training and exercise physiology.

Dean Anita Hufft noted that the College of Nursing had 57 graduates this spring. The master’s degree recipients were recognized on Friday, May 3; the bachelor’s degree recipients were recognized on Saturday, May 4. She said 30 new nursing majors — specifically those pursuing the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program for Second Degree Students — were admitted Tuesday, May 7, and are expected to graduate as registered nurses in 14 months.

VSU’s College of Nursing is located in S. Walter Martin Hall, 1300 N. Patterson St.

For more information, call (229) 333-5959, send an email to, or visit

Nursing By The Numbers: Registered Nurses in the United States

3.1 million — Total number of licensed RNs in the U.S.

2.6 million — Total number of licensed RNs in the U.S. employed in nursing.

62.2 percent — Percentage of employed RNs working in hospitals.

45.4 years — Average age of employed RNs.

45 percent — Percentage of RNs age 50 or older.

50-54 years — Larges age group of employed RNs.

16.8 percent — Percentage of RNs from a racial or ethnic minority group.

6.6 percent — Percentage of male RNs.

50 percent — Percentage of RNs with a baccalaureate or higher degree.

260,000 — Projected shortage of nurses to meet health care demand by 2025.

— Source: American Nurses Association