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In celebration of nurses

From the Nurses Week 2022: Celebrating Napa County's heroes series
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With all of the challenges out there — locally, nationally and, especially now it seems, internationally — the role and importance of nurses has never been more clear. These brave souls toil often anonymously, providing comfort during the times we need it the most.

No one is immune to illness, and there is no one on earth, past or present, that can avoid pain. But suffering is optional, and those in the nursing profession are at the forefront of alleviating just that.

The pandemic continues, and though all of us look forward to the day that COVID moves into its endemic stage – that it becomes more like the seasonal flu than a deadly scourge – that day is not yet upon us. Nurses continue to be on the frontlines of all this, sometimes sacrificing their own health, and lives, to help others.

Since 1993, the American Nurses Association has celebrated National Nurses Week in the second week in May, culminating with the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, almost certainly the most famous nurse of them all.

There are millions of nurses of all stripes and levels of education in the United States, covering dozens upon dozens of types of care and specialties.

In 2019, The Napa Valley Register began an annual tradition of honoring the members of this vital and honorable profession. This is our third edition; we skipped 2020 — as so many other things were paused — as May of that year landed in those first chaotic and turbulent months of the pandemic.

This is not intended to be a definitive list of the best and brightest members of the nursing profession in Napa County — that would take far more pages than we could possibly produce. Instead, we asked members of the public to nominate those who represent the dedication, professionalism and care inherent in the nursing profession.

We received a total of 25 nominations, submitted by former patients, friends and colleagues. They spanned a wide range of the profession, from our largest hospitals to small health clinics, from schools to hospices, in private care and public service. Every one had something truly special to offer.

We then put the names out for a vote, and made our selections based on the outcome of the tally. We vetted each, however, prior to making our final determination, making sure the vote was done fairly and those selected were truly worthy — all came through with flying colors.

We also made a decision not to rank the honorees, as each had something we at the paper — and the community at large — thought was truly special and worth publicly lauding.

So congratulations to all of our honorees and to everyone that was nominated. We appreciate your service and dedication and the care you show for those in need. Thanks to everyone that took the time to share their stories about the nurses in your life that have touched you in an important way. And thank you to our photographer Bob McClenahan, who provided the wonderful images of our honorees, and to Rachel Raskin-Zrihen, who told their stories.

And most of all, thank you to all of the nurses in our community who make Napa County the beautiful, vibrant — and healthy — place that it is. We simply couldn’t do it without you.

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