USNS Comfort Celebrates Nurses Week

Story Number: NNS110516-19Release Date: 5/16/2011 4:18:00 PM
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By Staff Sgt. Courtney M. Richardson, Continuing Promise 2011 Public Affairs

USNS COMFORT, At Sea (NNS) -- Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) held several events to commemmorate Nurses Week May 6-13.

Nurses Week, which began May 6, kicked off on board Comfort with a Blessing of the Hands ceremony followed by a movie night. A luncheon and cake-cutting ceremony marked the end of the week-long celebration.

Nurses Week is an internationally celebrated recognition event that was first observed in 1954, marking the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's mission to Crimea. It begins each year May 6 and ends May 12, Nightingale's birthday.

"Nurses are vital to Continuing Promise missions as they provide direct patient care in the pre and post-operative wards, intensive care unit, operating room, post-anesthesia care unit and medical sites," said Capt. Anne Mitchell, Director of Nursing. "Our nurses in the education and training department provide up-to-date training courses for all staff and coordinate subject matter expert exchanges for the host nation health care providers. Without the nurses, the mission would be impossible."

A mix of military and non-government organization nurses participated in the events on board Comfort.

"Nurses Week for me is a celebration of what nursing is all about. For me it's caring and compassion and being able to help people in their most urgent time of need, when they and their families are most vulnerable," said Kathy Vandusen, Latter-day Saints Charities emergency nurse.

During the luncheon, Capt. Kathy Becker, the Medical Treatment Facility's executive officer, talked about the past, present and the future of nursing.

"It takes a village to raise a child and it takes each and every one of you to make tomorrow's Navy Nurse Corps stronger and smarter and ready to meet the challenges of healthcare delivery because that is not getting any easier," said Becker.

"Don't be afraid of the future, embrace it and shape it. Make the future look like what you want it to be. I'm proud to be a Navy nurse and honored to celebrate today's birthday and Nurse's week with all of you," said Becker.

COMUSNAVSO/COMFOURTHFLT supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

For more news from U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command & U.S. 4th Fleet, visit

USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) receives JP-5 jet fuel from a Peruvian barge before departing to Ecuador in support of Continuing Promise 2011.
110511-F-NJ219-131 PAITA, Peru (May 11, 2011) The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) receives JP-5 jet fuel from a Peruvian barge before departing to Ecuador in support of Continuing Promise 2011. Continuing Promise is a five-month humanitarian assistance mission to the Caribbean, Central and South America. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Courtney Richardson)
May 12, 2011
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