Campaign to recognize local nurses


Working at 2 a.m. is hard enough. Working it twice is even harder.

For the seventh year, Western Governor’s University of Indiana, and Indy-based nonprofit online college, is kicking off a campaign to recognize appreciation local nurses who will work an extra hour during Daylight Savings Time at 2 a.m. Nov. 3. The campaign aims to draw attention to the extra work done by nurses during time by giving appreciation kits while also drawing attention to its scholarship program.

“I was a night shift nurse for 30-plus years, and during my days as a WGU student, remarked to former Chancellor Allison Barber how different a night shift nurse’s lifestyle is, everything from sleep, to opportunities for development, to how no schools ever came to my hospital at night to talk to students,” said Mary Lawson Carney, state director of nursing for WGU Indiana. “She decided this was a space where WGU could make a difference. So, within a couple of weeks, I was helping her man a table at my hospital from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. Besides the obvious sleep disruption, night shift nurses have traditionally faced barriers to their career progression by not interacting with their leadership regularly, not being able to attend traditional brick-and-mortar classroom education without giving up on sleep, and general ‘invisibility’ of their critically important work sometimes.”

Delivery of the kits started in 2013, and this year, the kits will reach more than 2,700 nurses at 125 hospitals and health care facilities in the state. Each box contains candy, sleep masks, pens, notepads and information about WGU Indiana’s nursing program.

Melanie Russell, a night shift nurse at Riverview Health, said nurses are always excited to be recognized during the campaign.

“That is a forgotten group of nurses. They miss out on pitch-ins, food and parties. It is nice to occasionally (receive a) thank you for keeping things going so others can sleep,” she said. “Most of the nursing staff already work 12 1/2-hour shifts. By the time 7 a.m. rolls around, the staff is more than ready to go home. (The campaign) says to them that other people realize their importance and appreciate that they are working during the night.”

The deliveries also will serve as an opportunity to learn more about WGU’s Night Shift Nurses Scholarship program, which awards $2,000 to night shift nurses who want to re-enroll in college to advance their careers. Applications are due Dec. 31. Learn more at


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