Harris Regional Hospital and Swain Community Hospital joined the American Hospital Association and health care organizations around the country in celebrating National Hospital Week, observed May 10-15.

Each May, National Hospital Week provides an opportunity to honor the millions of health care professionals who dedicate their lives to taking care of people in their greatest times of need, and to recognize the positive difference hospitals and health care organizations make in the communities they serve.

“As our community continues the fight against COVID-19, the pivotal role our health care workers play in the well-being of society is clearer than ever,” said Steve Heatherly, 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 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 sponsors a number of local community organizations and nonprofits, 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.

In 2019, Harris Regional and Swain Community provided nearly $34.5 million in charity and other uncompensated care, regardless of patients’ ability to pay.

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 has also declared 2020 as the Year of the Nurse. It is another 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 hospitals. “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.”

“By their very nature, nurses are special people who are committed to selflessly serving and caring for others no matter the circumstance,” Gordon said. “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 hospitals are encouraging the community to leave a special note of thanks for hospital employees at www.thankahealthcarehero.com.