Harris Regional and Swain Community Hospitals Mark National Hospital Week and Nurses Week, Honors Healthcare Heroes

May 12, 2020

Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital is proud to join the American Hospital Association and healthcare organizations around the country in celebrating National Hospital Week, which is observed May 10-15. Each May, National Hospital Week provides an opportunity to pause and honor the millions of healthcare professionals who dedicate their lives to taking care of people in their greatest times of need, and to recognize the positive difference hospitals and healthcare organizations make in the communities they serve.

“As our community continues the fight against COVID-19, the pivotal role our healthcare workers play in the well-being of society is clearer than ever,” said Steve Heatherly, chief executive officer (CEO) of Harris Regional and Swain Community. “Their tireless efforts on the front lines of this disease and their commitment to quality care and patient safety year-round are critical to our mission of Making Communities Healthier. We proudly honor these heroes during National Hospital Week and commend their inspiring efforts to serve others.”

The hospital plays an important role in supporting the health and vitality of western North Carolina all year long. From welcoming 29 new providers and expanding services, to investing more than $6.3 million in new clinical technology and facility improvements, Harris Regional and Swain Community is committed to meeting the evolving health needs of the community and enhancing access to high quality care close to home.

As one of the region’s economic leaders, the organization employs more than 920 staff and contributed more than $6.9 million in taxes to the local and state economies last year. Additionally, it is proud to sponsor a number of local community organizations and non-profits, including Western Carolina University, Blue Ridge Community Health, Cherokee Indian Hospital, FCA, Graham County Public Schools, Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Jackson County Public Schools, Mountain Projects, Restoration House of WNC, Rotary Club of Bryson City, Rotary Club of Sylva and Swain County Public Schools. Ensuring that everyone has access to the high-quality and compassionate care they need is a top priority for the organization and fundamental to its mission. In 2019 alone, Harris Regional and Swain Community provided nearly $34.5 million in charity and other uncompensated care, regardless of patients’ ability to pay.

“Western North Carolina is a wonderful place to call home, and we are privileged to have a significant impact on its health and economic well-being,” said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional and Swain Community hospitals. “As we celebrate National Hospital Week and Nurses Week amid unprecedented challenges this year and begin to look to the future, we are aware that healthcare – like other aspects of life – might look a little different. What will not change, though, is our mission and our commitment to this community. We will continue to put the health and well-being of our neighbors first, ensuring safe places of care and a healthier community for us all.”

Nurses week, which is usually celebrated one week out of the year, has recently been expanded to the entire month of May. In addition to this year’s expanded, month-long observance, the World Health Organization (WHO) has also declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse. It is another well-deserved recognition for a group of professionals that could not have come at a more appropriate time.

“Our heroic nurses are always on the front lines of caring for the sick and injured,” said LaCrystal Gordon, chief nursing officer of Harris Regional and Swain Community hospital. “Their compassion, clinical expertise and servant leadership are fundamental to our ability to provide the high-quality care our patients have come to rely on. I am so proud to celebrate and honor their hard work – and not just during Nurses Month, but year-round. Their impact is an essential part of our mission of Making Communities Healthier.”

The roots of National Nurses Week can be traced back to 1953, when U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare employee Dorothy Sutherland suggested a national day of recognition for nurses. After a series of proclamations and resolutions through the decades, the American Nurses Association affirmed a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress by establishing May 6 as National Nurses Day in 1982. The ANA expanded the celebration to a week in 1991 and, in 1993, designated May 6-12 as the permanent annual dates to mark National Nurses Week.

“By their very nature, nurses are special people who are committed to selflessly serving and caring for others no matter the circumstance,” Gordon says. “During our fight against COVID-19, our nurses have truly stepped up and are making countless sacrifices daily to ensure the safety of patients and each other, and to help protect our community. They are heroes in every sense of the word.”

Harris Regional and Swain Community hospital are encouraging the community to leave a special note of thanks for hospital employees at www.thankahealthcarehero.com.

About Harris Regional Hospital

Harris Regional Hospital, established in 1925, is an 86-bed acute and specialty care facility serving Western North Carolina with more than 100 physicians practicing in locations throughout a multi-county region, including Harris Regional Hospital Medical Park of Franklin, an outpatient facility in Macon County.