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CipherSalutes: Thanking Nurses With Water, Chocolate, and Chalk


In the days leading up to Nurses Week (May 6 – 12), CipherHeath will be running a series of “CipherSalutes” from our team members, demonstrating the unique ways they and their families are expressing their gratitude and appreciation for nurses. We hope they inspire you to reach out to the front-line healthcare workers in your community to let them know how much they are valued. 


I’ve been a nurse for more than 30 years. I’ve had the privilege of caring for patients during the HIV/AIDS epidemic, at a time when we knew little about the virus and fear was widespread. 

Over the past few weeks and months, I’ve seen my fellow nurses rise to a similar challenge as they battle many unknowns in caring for patients on the front lines of COVID-19. Despite the risk to themselves and their families, nurses show up day after day to ensure their patients receive safe, high-quality care.

When it comes to the COVID-19 crisis, we are all in this together. We must do what we can to take care of ourselves and each other.  

Paying it Forward

Recently, I had the opportunity to share this gratitude and encouragement with the front-line heroes at North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC). As the largest rural hospital in America, NMMC serves more than 730,000 people in 24 counties in Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. And like their peers across the country, the NMMC team is fighting this virus in the battlefields of unprecedented patient surges and limited personal protective equipment (PPE). 

I started my career at NMMC in 1986; this is my community. The staff at NMMC are my friends and neighbors; they care for my family. I reached out to one of my best friends and the Chief Nursing Executive (CNE) of NMMC, Donna Pritchard, to see how we could help.


As many caregivers feel the physical, mental, and emotional stress of care delivery in the time of COVID-19, my family and I focused our efforts on expressing our appreciation through art. 

COVID thank you to nursesCOVID thank you to nurses

Nurses saluteCOVID thank you to nurses

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We created colorful signs to hang around hospital entrances and inundated employee entrances with encouraging sidewalk chalk messages as a gesture of thanks for the front-line heroes taking care of our community. After hearing that staff were suffering from the stresses of heat due to negative pressure units, combined with wearing PPE, we also made a small donation at their request – water bottles and chocolate. Our hope is that care teams are reminded that they are seen and appreciated

nurses salute in chalk

Future generations of nurses — including one of my own twin daughters who is finishing her first year of nursing school — will understand how our profession met this moment with courage, compassion, and perseverance. How we respond during this time is the legacy we leave behind.

Let’s continue to lead by example as we heal our communities together.

See more ways CipherHealth is saluting and acknowledging our nurse heroes in honor of National Nurses Week. 


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