Mayor Toby Barker reads the proclamation by the Hattiesburg City Council to Emergency Department nurses outside the Emergency Room Wednesday morning.

On Emergency Room Nurses Day, October 14, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker presented a proclamation by the Hattiesburg City Council to Emergency Department nurses at Forrest General Hospital. Hospitals nationwide celebrated Emergency Nurses Week, October 11-17.

“I appreciate you, and I know everyone in our city whose family and friends depend on you, as well as our officers who have depended on you, appreciate you,” Barker said. As the son of a nurse, Barker said he understood the schedule of those in the medical profession, “but I know that the schedule in the Emergency Department is more intense.”

“We want everyone dealing with this pandemic to know that not only does our economy depend on them, but the lives of our friends and family as well.”

The theme for Emergency Nurses Week is Heart of Gold and does more than just show appreciation and gratitude. It helps ensure that others know about emergency nurses. It helps others see the heart that emergency nurses bring to their hospitals and patients every day.

Eric Jordan, M.D., Emergency Services medical director, said the hospital could not do what it does and have its doors open for this community without these nurses. “They are awesome,” he said. “I am proud to have these nurses recognized by Mayor Barker and the City of Hattiesburg, especially in this pandemic 2020 year; this means a lot.”

Sheila Shappley, nursing director of the Emergency Department, said the ED nurses have worked extremely hard this year and are always committed to Forrest General’s patients and community. “I think this recognition is a pat on the back for a job well done,” she said. “And while it’s not what our nurses are looking for or expect, sometimes it’s that recognition of taking a moment to let them know they are special that is so important. They are the ones who are here 24/7 to step in and take care of emergencies and take care of our community.”

In addition to Mayor Barker’s visit, several celebrations were held throughout the week within the department.

Since 1989, the Emergency Nurses Association has recognized the second Wednesday in October as Emergency Nurses Day, a day honoring emergency nurses for their commitment to patient care. In 2001, ENA expanded the celebration to devote an entire week to honoring emergency nurses, because one day is simply not enough to recognize all contributions made by emergency nurses.

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