AUBURN, Ala. (EETV) - This week is National Hospital Week and the Alabama Hospital Association is honoring nurses, doctors, and hospital staff who work to heal and support Alabamians across the state. 

Rosemary Blackmon is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Alabama Hospital Association. She says the “Celebrating Hope and Healing” theme of this year’s event is meant to honor the often unseen work that hospital staff do.

“I thought it was so important to talk about this particularly in Lee County where there have been such horrible things happen recently, with Beauregard, and to have the community all pull together, not just the hospital, but other people, to do good for others,” she said. “To me, it really brought home that whole aspect of giving people hope.”

The organization also looks to highlight the work hospital staff does outside of medical care. Some ways hospitals provide additional support is through home visits, providing clothing and food to patients who might not otherwise have it, or giving support to the community as a whole through building homes for tornado victims and donating to food shelters.

Blackmon says the community can play a big part in supporting hospitals this week. 

“I think sometimes it’s just sending that thank you. Because it is hard work, it’s shift work, so they have to be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, somebody does. Sometimes it means they have to work an extra shift. Just a simple thank you goes a long way.”

And, with nearly 1,000 nursing students currently enrolled in Auburn’s School of Nursing, Blackmon hopes that this week inspires them to continue to pursue their careers. 

“When you see stories of the staff going above and beyond and reaching out and doing things to help the community, it just shows you what a big family the hospital staff really is,” she said. “It’s a big group of people who don’t just go to work because it’s a job. I think they go to work because they feel called to be there. They feel like it’s a mission and for so people that are graduating in nursing, I just don’t think you have a better example than the way people have done it.”

Blackmon says hospitals can be inspiring to the patients in them as well. 

“I think if you’ve got a good facility and you’ve got people that care about you, it’s a place of hope, for a number of reasons.”