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St. Luke’s Cy Gearhard and National Nurses Week: 4 million reasons to celebrate

By Cy Gearhard, News and Community
May 7, 2019
David C. Pate MD, JD

Happy National Nurses Week! It is fitting that we celebrate nurses for their excellence, professionalism, care and caring, and St. Luke’s nurses are simply the best of the best!

Nurses touch all lives. They taught me a lot when I was a pre-med and medical student, and saved me from making mistakes or overlooking something serious a number of times while I was a resident. My office nurse was indispensable in caring for my practice’s patients. Then I went into hospital administration and saw firsthand how nurses taught, conducted research, provided great patient care, coordinated care and came up with innovative care practices. Now I lead a health system where I see nurses do outstanding work in all kinds of capacities and many different settings.

I also have the pleasure of working with a great nurse – Cy Gearhard – St. Luke’s Health System’s chief nursing officer. Here, Cy describes how great nurses and nursing care have recently touched her own life. To all the nurses out there – you are amazing people and I thank you for all you do!

- David C. Pate, M.D., J.D.


Cynthia Gearhard
Cy Gearhard is the chief nursing officer for St. Luke's Health System

In reflecting on this past year, I’m stunned with St. Luke’s transformation as a health system. 

As an organization, we have been able to navigate the “white water” because of the strength of our clinical teams. The amount of change has been staggering, yet our commitment to deliver on our promise to our communities has never been stronger, and the passion to deliver outstanding patient care has been constant.   

I would especially like to recognize and express my genuine appreciation for our professional nurses, who are the backbone to our success now and in the future. St. Luke’s nurses have high professional standards and are diligent, resilient, compassionate, caring, dedicated and tireless advocates for our patients.

St. Luke’s nurses are special! I have always known that, but I recently had a personal experience that reinforced for me just how unique this nurse family really is.  

I recently lost my wonderful 93-year-old mother. She was blessed with excellent health for most of her life; she was convinced it was due to her chocolate intake and her love of golf! 

She quickly became ill and she had made it clear she wanted to die at home. We engaged St. Luke’s Hospice team to ensure her end-of-life experience was at the highest level. 

It was a given that the clinical care would be excellent. And it was.

However, it was the extra effort of the nurses that made it so special. I was overwhelmed with their impact.

It was Tommy, who sang “Les Misérables” to my mother to her delight, and superstar Kayla, who guided us through the dying process with love and compassion on her day off. I was overwhelmed with pride and appreciation. 

Each year, the American Nurses Association selects a distinct theme for National Nurses Week, May 6-12. This year, “4 Million Reasons to Celebrate” recognizes the vast contributions and positive impact of America’s 4 million registered nurses.

I have special reasons to celebrate St. Luke’s nurses this year, and I would invite everyone to take a moment during this special time of year to appreciate our nurses for their tremendous contributions. Every nurse is a cause for celebration!


About The Author

Cy Gearhard is the chief nursing officer for St. Luke's Health System, based in Boise, Idaho.