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For extraordinary care in an extraordinary year, thank you, nurses

After an extraordinary – and often exhausting – year of caring for patients with COVID-19, patients afraid of getting COVID-19, patients who couldn’t see family because of COVID-19 restrictions and many other challenges related to the virus, nurses need some extra TLC themselves.

To help them and other front-line workers heal from those painful experiences, Penn State Health is celebrating Nurses Week, Thursday, May 6, through Wednesday, May 12.

At St. Joseph Medical Center, nurses – and any hospital staff – are invited to write their thoughts and feelings on slips of paper, available at Bern Chapel, that will be folded into origami butterflies and placed in lit trees in the hospital lobby. Brief healing services are planned on May 12 at 7:30 a.m., noon and 4:30 p.m. in the Healing Garden on the Bern campus, with readings, harp music and the opportunity to mention the names of those who are missed.

Nurses at Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center will be honored at a luncheon where nursing excellence awards will be presented, followed by a special ceremony featuring a Blessing of the Hands. Throughout the week, nurses can enjoy a breakfast and rolling taco/hotdog cart, goodies, prizes and a special delivery of ice cream and cookies on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday.

Employees of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are hoping to spread some joy during Nurses Week/Hospital Week with a campuswide, outdoor scavenger hunt for painted rocks featuring cheerful messages. Spot one and share the joy on social media with the hashtag #PSHSpreadTheJoy or email photos to Those who find a rock with the message “Choose joy” will be eligible to win a surprise gift.

As Penn State Health continues to expand on the West Shore with the addition of Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center and the opening of Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center later this year, nurses are an important part of the mission to provide residents with quality care, closer to home.

“I am very proud of the caliber and strength of the nursing leadership team that has recently been hired at Hampden,” said Aimee Hagerty, vice president and chief nursing officer at Hampden Medical Center. “Our team is building a culture of caring and compassion that will provide a phenomenal place to work and receive care.”

Penn State Health is recruiting for many nursing positions on the West Shore, and Haggerty encourages nurses to apply. “Being a Penn State Health nurse is being part of a family,” she said.

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