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This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for nurses

Written By: Laura Frnka-Davis | Updated: November 18, 2020
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This Thanksgiving, we're particularly thankful to nurses for the care and compassion they provide to their patients.

Nursing is and always has been a noble profession that requires skill, compassion, patience, and stamina.

This past year, the contributions of nurses were underscored with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The men and women who devote their lives to caring for others are putting themselves and sometimes their families at significant risk to fight for their patients’ well-being.

International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

It seems only fitting that the World Health Assembly designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife in honor of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. The 200th anniversary of her birth is being used to help advance nurses’ vital role in transforming medicine around the world.

“As the Year of the Nurse comes to a close, it’s a time to celebrate and give thanks for all that nurses do,” said Diane M. Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN, dean of Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth. “Nurses are providing front-line care to COVID-19 patients, educating students and the public on prevention, and conducting important research on the impacts of the pandemic on vulnerable populations. Please remember to thank the nurses in your life for all they do.”

Expressing thanks to nurses

Erin Tweed is incredibly thankful for one particular nurse who impacted her life and that of her son, Forrest.

Forrest was born with a cleft lip and palate, a condition that can bring about a lot of uncertainty for parents on how best to manage and what to expect. Irene “Leanne” Doringo, MSN, RN, a clinical care coordinator for the Texas Cleft-Craniofacial Team at UT Physicians, was a calming force for Erin and her husband, Kyle, throughout this challenging journey.

“It was so reassuring to have a steady presence, a right-hand person to help navigate my child through this,” said Tweed. “I’m so grateful for Leanne, and I’m not sure what we would have done without her.”

Nursing is a vast field and covers many responsibilities, from helping decide on lifesaving treatment options to administering vaccinations in schools. Whatever path a nurse chooses to take – whether a nurse practitioner, registered nurse, or licensed vocational nurse – all nurses possess the expertise and motivation to care for others.

“Nurses and medical assistants play a critical role in providing health services, devoting their lives to helping others, offering health guidance, providing elder care, and are an essential resource in meeting our health needs as a society,” said Kim Alleman, RN, director of nursing and patient care services at UT Physicians. “When we count our blessings this Thanksgiving, let us remember and show gratitude for these men and women who care for our loved ones and us in pivotal times during our lives.”


If you’re not sure how to show your thanks this year, the Nightingale 2030 Resilience Fund, a new organization with a mission to celebrate and support nurses worldwide, officially launched its Thank A Nurse Campaign, which goes through the end of November. Here are some easy ways to show your appreciation:

  • Make a short video sharing your experience with a nurse who has impacted your life or the lives of a loved one. Or, a simple thank-you video.
  • Post the video to your social media accounts. Use hashtag #ThankANurse
  • Write a short story sharing your experience with a nurse who has impacted your life or the lives of a loved one. Or a simple thank you. Submit the story, along with the nurse’s name, location, and social media information to

UT Physicians’ social media pages are sharing stories of thanks. Visit the UT Physicians social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn) to share a story or to publicly #ThankANurse who has touched your life.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.