May is full of appreciation days for groups of professionals who truly deserve our thanks for all they do in our community. For example, as a dad to a wonderful young man who is getting so excited about the end of May coming—and summer vacation—makes me remember the dedicated teachers in our community. My heart goes out to our wonderful educators and their interest in and focus on not just my child, but every student in Macon County. Now is the ideal time to help me thank our teachers, since the first week in May is Teacher Appreciation week.
Educators are the future of Macon County and beyond. Our job as parents is to protect and guide our children, and their teachers are truly our partners in this endeavor. If you are a parent of a child who has asthma or allergies, this is an especially trying time. About 1 out of 13 people have asthma. This is a lung condition that makes it difficult to breath and can have a trickle-down effect on a person’s overall wellbeing. This condition affects many children, and coincidentally, May is also National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, a time when we should take stock of whether we or our children are experiencing allergy or asthma symptoms. If symptoms are present, be sure to bring it to the attention of your primary care physician, as many strides have been made over the years to treat both conditions.
Taking the time to talk to your child’s teacher throughout the school year and prior to the end of school can be beneficial in helping them make the transition from a structured environment to one that might be less structured. I would encourage parents to take time to spend time with their children and note any behavioral issues that could point to mental health issues. Some signs to watch out for are withdrawal from normal activities, irritability, lashing out, headaches, sleep issues, and talking about harming themselves or others. This came to mind for me not just because I’m a parent, but May also happens to be National Mental Health Awareness Month. To learn more about Mental Health Awareness Month, go to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) website, https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Mental-Health-Awareness-Month. 
In addition to these awareness events, May is a celebration month for many of the stellar professionals who work in healthcare. May 8-14 is also National Hospital Week. Let me list the appreciation and awareness weeks that deserve to be recognized, especially in the wake of COVID: Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Nurses, and Law Enforcement. All of these professionals have been on the frontlines and integral to caring for our community these last two years.
Many in our community may not realize how vital each of these teams is to the overall health of our community, and how integral our partnership is as well. I feel that we are continually getting stronger in supporting each other, and know that we are all focused on the residents of our community. I do not want to imagine what would happen if one of these links was missing, and the adverse effects that gap would have on the health, security, and overall wellbeing of Macon County.
Hospital Week and Nurse’s Week have a special place in my life and heart. First, I am a nurse and love patient care. Second, I have spent the last 28 years in a hospital caring for communities much like ours. I have to say that the level of compassion and dedication by the employees at Angel Medical Center (AMC) is second to none. The best part about what I get to do every day is help improve quality and perception of care. Thank you to all the nurses in our community, your dedication is greatly appreciated.
As we move closer to the opening of our new facility, Hospital Week takes on a new meaning for this community. Angel Medical Center is our Community Hospital and we are fortunate to have the technology and dedicated, passionate staff to care for our community. I am grateful that the new AMC will meet their needs and yours in new and exciting ways.
Clint Kendall, FACHE, MBA, MSN, BSN, RN, is Chief Executive Officer/Chief Nursing Officer of Angel Medical Center. He started his career as a nurse, and that perspective still informs his work and passion for the patient experience. Clint holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration, Nursing, and Health Care Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Western Carolina University. Clint has also earned the Certified Professional in Patient Safety (CPPS) certification, and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE), and the American Nurses Association (ANA).