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Time to honor those who care for us

OPINION by Scott Smith, guest column | May 8, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Each May, it is my honor to take a moment to pause and reflect on the tireless work and dedication that our local health care teams exhibit every day of the year as they care for our community. I'm fortunate to work alongside the many dedicated physicians, nurses, clinical staff, employees and volunteers that make up our talented health care team at National Park Medical Center, as well as local EMS personnel who partner with us in delivering exceptional care. Throughout this month, we will celebrate three important national observances to recognize our nurses, hospital staff, and EMS workers -- all of whom are essential to advancing our mission of Making Communities Healthier.

During National Nurses Week (May 6-12), we honor our compassionate nurses who care for patients during their times of greatest need. Their voices and actions make a difference every single day -- from monitoring patients at the bedside to championing new protocols and procedures and ensuring that quality is always at the heart of what we do.

National Hospital Week (May 9-13) honors hospitals, health systems and the more than 5.6 million health care workers across the country who are making a difference in their communities. In Hot Springs, National Park Medical Center provides employment for nearly 800 providers and employees -- making it one of the largest employers in the community. At each level of our organization, from pharmacy to patient access, dietitians to doctors, environmental services and every role in between, our team is committed to advancing quality and safety, and enhancing the patient experience.

Finally, National EMS Week (May 15-21) recognizes EMS personnel and other first responders who work quickly to provide lifesaving care to critical patients. They are often the first to arrive at the scene of an accident or disaster, providing emergency care in potentially fatal situations before a patient arrives at the hospital. We are so thankful for our EMS partners who help us save lives when minutes matter most.

We proudly recognize all of the inspiring men and women who have responded to the calling to serve others by choosing a career in health care. Many of them have sacrificed their own health and well-being to care for our community during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they continue to selflessly serve others without a desire for praise or recognition. Together, these individuals are truly at the heart of health care in Hot Springs.

Saying "thank you" seems woefully inadequate, but I am deeply grateful for and continue to stand in awe of our incredible team members and EMS partners -- for the countless sacrifices they have made, the challenges they have overcome and the courageous ways they continue to serve our patients and communities. I hope you will join me in thanking them for their dedicated service during these special observances, but also year-round.

We appreciate your support and look forward to serving Hot Springs and the surrounding area for many years to come.

Scott Smith is the chief executive officer of National Park Medical Center in Hot Springs.

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