Area hospitals show appreciation for nurses - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Area hospitals show appreciation for nurses

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La Crosse, WI (WXOW) - -

Saturday is National Nurses Day in the US, part of an annual week long celebration of the nursing profession. 

Nursing can be traced back to the 1850's with Florence Nightingale, a British woman often referred to as the mother of modern nursing. Today, the healthcare industry is still battling a shortage of nurses who, according to local hospitals, play one of the biggest roles in modern healthcare.

"Nurses and nursing assistants are the ones who see the patient the most out of anyone in the healthcare system," said Erica Ericksen, an RN from Gundersen Health System. "We are always with the patient, that's our main job to be at the bed side, in the room taking care of all their needs."

It can be rough and even taken for granted but the reward, they said, is more than worth it.

"Being on the other side of the bed made me realize there's just a lot of compassion and empathy that can be given to people," said Traci Kokke, an RN from Mayo Clinic Health System.

Mayo Clinic said that nearly a third of their employees are nurses and nurse assistants. A study recently found Wisconsin ranked number one as the best state for the nursing profession based on opportunity, competition and work environment.

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