Let's take the time to celebrate National Nursing Week, which falls from May 6–12, 2016. Not by eating ice cream or having dinners—although we can do that too—but by enhancing and elevating our own nursing practice.

Consider the following ideas to help celebrate National Nursing Week.

1. If you are not already a member of a professional nursing group, join one now. The wealth of information, networking opportunities, and support you receive will be well worth the monetary cost.

2. Resolve to advance your professional education this year. This can be as easy as obtaining CE credits, or as elaborate as going back to college. Attend a nursing conference or dinner, reading a pertinent book, or publishing an article can be great ways to keep yourself focused and involved in education. There are always new ONS courses to tackle as well.

3. Remember to care for yourself. Nurture yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As nurses, we can't care for others if we’re running on empty. Stay hydrated at work, eat a healthy lunch, laugh when you can, meditate, practice yoga, nurture your spirituality, and stay healthy. Things like compassion fatigue can take a toll on your practice, so make sure to find healthy ways to relieve stress.

4. Keep current! Find a nursing journal like the Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing or a newsletter that appeals to you and subscribe. Go to your local library, find one, and read it regularly. You never know what morsels of information you may obtain.

5. Rediscover the joy in nursing. Let's rid the world of the phrase “nurses eat their young." Encourage the new nurses, the old nurses, and everyone in between. No one delights in the seemingly endless computer charting that’s required, so let's overcome the tedium and find joy in each day. We need to extend our compassion to each other as well as our patients.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy National Nursing Week. Remember that all the hard work and difficult days pay off when caring for our patients.