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Nurses Week: Celebrating The Power of Nursing Friendships

Joelle Y. Jean, FNP-C, BSN, RN
Updated November 30, 2023
    Celebrate Nurses Week 2023 and the power of nursing friendships in our video series, The Breakroom.
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    Nurses Week is an annual event celebrated across the U.S. The historic efforts to create and achieve national nurse recognition started in the 1950s. Today, Nurses Week is dedicated to recognizing nurses’ important role in healthcare. From May 6-12, hospitals, healthcare organizations, and communities join to honor all nurses and spotlight those who continue to make lasting contributions to the profession.

    For Nurses Week 2023, NurseJournal is celebrating friendships in nursing. We recognize nursing is not just a career. It’s a profession where you make lifelong friendships — bonds that provide a support system in an emotionally and physically demanding field.

    We know nursing friendships go beyond the bedside and help keep you going. Despite current events like the nursing shortage and nursing strikes, friendships may be one reason to keep you in the profession.

    Nursing Friends Get Personal in The Breakroom

    NurseJournal’s Nurses Week 2023 video series is titled “The Breakroom.” It features three groups of nursing friends who discuss friendships and the role they played in their nursing careers.

    The break room (out of earshot from patients, their families, and administration) is a sacred space for nurses. It’s here where nurses come to rest, relax, and recharge. It’s a place where conversations flow and friendships flourish. The break room is where you celebrate life events like birthdays, baby showers, and even engagement parties. It’s a place to cry and talk about challenges and triumphs.

    Friendships are what make nursing bonds unbreakable. In this five-episode series, you’ll hear from three groups of nursing friends who have been through and seen it all.

    “We went beyond friendship. Beyond coworkers. We were actually family.”

    — Denise McLean-Walcott, Pediatric Nurse

    McLean-Walcott, Valerie Yearwood, and Mary Lawson Valerie are three nursing friends who have known each other for over 50 years. Another group — Katie Warcola, Pattyann Hansen, and Ashleigh Pileggi — includes an aunt and niece nursing pair and her mentee/friend. Finally, Jess Barbosa, Melanie Perez, and Eva Develleres are nursing friends who have grown together during their early nursing careers.

    The Breakroom: Friends and Family in Nursing

    Getting Your Degree (and Paying for It)

    Making It as a New Nurse

    How to Avoid Burnout

    See the Full Series

    Celebrate Nurses Week With NurseJournal

    NurseJournal is committed to uplifting and spotlighting nurses’ voices and experiences. Explore this list of related Nurses Week content.


    The Importance of Friendships in Nursing

    Nursing is stressful but rewarding. Without friendships in the field, nurses may feel isolated and unsupported. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, nursing friendships have gotten even stronger. Nurses report leaning on their coworkers during the pandemic, knowing they couldn’t have survived without each other.

    But nursing friendships go deeper than the pandemic. Nurses have shared experiences. This fellowship allows them to share challenges they face in and outside work without a backstory.

    Nurse friendships start as early as nursing school, and some are multigenerational — daughters and sons, nieces and nephews following in their family members’ footsteps.

    NurseJournal is highlighting these friendships because, let’s be honest, sometimes it’s difficult for our non-nursing friends and our partners to relate! Nursing friendships create a support system, inspire professional growth, and foster mentorship.

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      Creating a Support System

      Friendships help nurses create support systems to promote mental health and reduce burnout. Nursing friends can help each other process difficult experiences and debrief after losing a patient or a challenging day. Nursing friends can help you recognize stress symptoms you may not be aware you’re experiencing.

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      Inspiring Professional Growth

      Nursing friendships can inspire and promote professional growth. Nursing friends can navigate their nursing education or early nursing careers together. They can inspire each other to pursue advanced degrees and certifications to grow their careers.

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      Fostering Mentorship

      Nursing friendships can foster mentorship. Some nursing friends act as mentors to each other and friends and family who have decided to pursue careers in nursing.