National Library of Medicine Director Recognizes the Role of the Nurse During National Nursing Week

June 25, 2021 by Alec Stone MA, MPA, Former ONS Director of Government Affairs and Advocacy

Nursing is a calling, but sometimes the profession takes nurses into careers that are an opportunity to serve others without direct patient care. In a recent blog post (, Patricia Flatley Brennan, RN, PhD, director of the National Institute of Health’s ( (NIH) National Library of Medicine (, looked back at the roles she’s held. Brennan considered ( herself a “mother-daughter-sister-aunt-friend, and an advocate for self-care management education and support for all people.” But on top of it all, she is a nurse.

For National Nurses Day (, Brennan applauded ( nurses across the United States for their continuing hard work and compassion for their patients. Whether you’re on the front line or you’ve helped to provide research and evidence to fellow nurses during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, nurses of all occupations and fields have served an important role in public safety and health.

“I want to acknowledge the enormous contributions made by all health care professionals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly by the nurses and members of nursing care teams. I want to express my sorrow and deepest sympathies to the friends, families, and coworkers of nurses who faced health issues or died from work-acquired COVID-19 infections. I am grateful to frontline care providers, ranging from nursing home aides to emergency department staff, particularly the nurses whose creative problem solving and attention to complex patient needs helped so many over the past year,” Brennan wrote (

Brennan also spoke about the resources and contributions NIH provided for nurses ( during the pandemic and leading up to National Nurses Day. Brennan said ( that the organization shared information through its MedlinePlus Connect ( service, collaborated with publishers ( to open literature access, and accelerated the process of genomic sequences ( to speed up the process of tracking COVID-19 variants and identifying new drug targets.

“For every one of you who greets each workday with the worry of exposing your family to COVID-19 or putting yourself in harm’s way, I thank you for persisting, and for what you are doing for patients. I trust that the next few months will be a time for resetting your practice to something that is manageable and less fraught with risks,” Brennan concluded (

The pandemic would look quite different if not for our nurses’ and healthcare workers’ dedication to quality care and research. Join ONS in acknowledging the significance of your work. Take time for your own well-being with the resources in the Nursing Self-Care Learning Library (, and step up your advocacy for protecting your patients and the profession with the resources in the ONS Center for Advocacy and Health Policy (

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