An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Celebrates National Nurses Week

15 May 2023

From Bobbie A. Camp, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic Public Affairs and Outreach

U.S. Navy Nurse Corps officers at Commander, Naval Medical Forces Atlantic, celebrated National Nurses Week and the 115th birthday of Navy Nurse Corps on board Naval Support Activity (NSA) Hampton Roads-Portsmouth Annex, May 6-13.
This year’s theme is “You Make Difference,” and Navy Nurses Week is a part of the larger National Nurses Month in May. NMFL began the week-long celebration with a blessing of the hands ceremony to give thanks and recognition of a caregiver’s hands with oils or water.

“The blessing acknowledges the importance of the compassionate care nurses provide with their hands to our patients,” explained Capt. William Hlavin, the NMFL regional chaplain.

The Navy Nurse Corps is comprised of more than 3,700 active duty and reserve nurses who provide care or support patient care in more than 20 specialties. The nurses at NMFL serve as deputy chief of staffs, department heads and in administrative staff positions.

“Being a nurse means getting the opportunity to serve in a rewarding, flexible and diverse career,” expressed Cmdr. Ebony Ferguson, a native of Athens, Georgia, and the sexual assault prevention and response officer for NMFL. “I am passionate about improving the quality of life for my patients, having a seat at the table to effect policy and strategy, and advancing nursing science to improve patient outcomes.”

On March 25, 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed May 6 as National Recognition Day for Nurses. In 1990, the American Nurses Association declared May 6-12 as National Nurses Week. It ends on May 12, which is Florence Nightingale’s birthday. Nightingale was a British social reformer and statistician and is considered the founder of modern nursing.

“As a nurse, I advocate for others even when it requires high-stakes conversations or those who may not recognize the need,” concluded Cmdr. Amy Tomaino, a native of El Dorado Hills, California, and the NMFL chief nursing informatics officer. “I hope the Nurse Corps continues to innovate and infuse the force with diversity for many more years to come.”

On May 13, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Naval Appropriations Bill that authorized the establishment of the Navy Nurse Corps. The first nurses inducted into the corps were dubbed “the Sacred Twenty.” Lenah Sutcliffe Higbee and Esther Voorhees Hassonr were two members of this first group of Navy nurses, and both went on to become superintendents of the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.

NMFL, headquartered in Portsmouth, Virginia, delivers operationally focused medical expertise and capabilities to meet Fleet, Marine and Joint Force requirements by providing equipment, sustainment and maintenance of medical forces during combat operations and public health crises. NMFL provides oversight for 21 NMRTCs, logistics, and public health and dental services throughout the U.S. East Coast, U.S. Gulf Coast, Cuba, Hawaii, Europe, and the Middle East.

Navy Medicine – represented by more than 44,000 highly-trained military and civilian health care professionals – provides enduring expeditionary medical support to the warfighter on, below, and above the sea, and ashore.
Guidance-Card-Icon Dept-Exclusive-Card-Icon