It’s National Nurses Week, which means it’s time to celebrate nurses and the critical role they play in our healthcare system.

This year’s theme is “Ethical Practice. Quality Care.” which emphasizes the role that ethics plays in nursing as well as the commitment nurses make to ethics in their jobs.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why nurses are so important:

They’re the First Person You See When You Receive Healthcare

It doesn’t matter where you go—emergency room, outpatient clinic, doctor’s office—the nurses are generally the first people you see. They take your vitals, inquire about your symptoms and concerns, and keep track of everything for your visit and progress. This is a crucial first step when receiving care as it creates the structure on which you will be supported while receiving healthcare.

They Accurately Understand Your Condition and Concerns

Nurses will inevitably spend more time with you as a patient than your doctors. This time spent with you gives nurses the insight they need to properly treat your condition and address your concerns. They see your progress and can understand the way you feel by asking important questions, observing you, and keeping documentation. This time they spend with you is invaluable to helping your team of doctors and nurses understand your condition and treating it.

They are Extremely Knowledgeable

Nurses know much about medicine, health, symptoms, and more. They are trained with knowledge about how to look out for certain symptoms, listen to your complaints and descriptions, and try to gauge how you are feeling based on body language as well as spoken language. They know what to look for and what to make note of. They also know how to advise you on what you can do to help yourself, both physically and emotionally.

They Provide Emotional Support

Nurses see sickness, disease, death, and trauma throughout their career. They have empathy for their patients and understand the emotional impact that a diagnosis can make, no matter how small. They provide important emotional support to their patients when providing care, advice, and other services. Nurses provide this net of support and knowledge that is hard to find anywhere else.

They Work Tremendously Hard

Nurses work long hours, sometimes in difficult circumstances, to provide you with the best care possible. They work on holidays and come to work in adverse weather conditions. They work tremendously hard to keep you safe, comfortable, and well, regardless of what symptoms you are experiencing. Nurses know what needs to be done and they do it—putting aside their needs to help you overcome your sickness.

Nurses are exceptional in their practice and deserve to be celebrated not just during National Nurses Week but all year long. Thank a nurse in your life, whether it is a caregiver past or present, a family friend, or just a nurse you happen to see during this week. Nurses provide their patients with a standard of care unlike any other profession—celebrate nurses and their amazing commitment to ethics this week!