Ribbon campaign to support Kentucky nurses, healthcare’s frontline workers launches in Lexington

The City of Lexington is joining the Kentucky Nurses Association’s Apricot Ribbon Campaign to honor and celebrate Lexington’s nurses and other healthcare frontline workers.

“It’s the International Year of the Nurse, and what a challenging year nurses and all healthcare experts and frontline workers are having with the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Linda Gorton, who is a registered nurse.

Working with local hospitals and healthcare providers, Lexington is installing ribbons of honor downtown, near hospitals, and at many healthcare facilities.

Delanor Manson, MA, BSN, RN, chief executive officer, Kentucky Nurses Association, said, “We are thrilled to see Mayor Linda Gorton and the Lexington medical community join us in this statewide effort to recognize the tireless efforts of nurses and all frontline healthcare workers.  We can’t thank them enough for their unwavering commitment to the health of Kentuckians.”

Participating providers include University of Kentucky HealthCare, the UK College of Nursing, Good Samaritan Hospital, Eastern State Hospital, the Lexington VA Health Care System, Baptist Health Lexington and CHI Saint Joseph Health.

Long before the pandemic erupted, the World Health Organization named 2020 “The Year of the Nurse” in honor of the 200th birthday of modern nursing founder, Florence Nightingale.

“I am so proud of our nurses, and all of our frontline healthcare workers,” Gorton said. “Their contribution to our community is enormous, and we thank each one for everything they are doing to fight this pandemic and safeguard our citizens.”

UK College of Nursing Dean Janie Heath is also honoring the contribution healthcare workers are making. “As the fight against the novel coronavirus wages on, so must our strength and support for those who are sacrificing on the frontlines each day,” she said. “What may seem like a simple gesture of displaying a ribbon, can be a beacon of support for someone who sees it. Thank you to all of our Kentucky nurses along with the many people, businesses and organizations across Lexington and Kentucky who are supporting their efforts to keep us all safe and healthy.”  

The ribbon campaign officially launched this morning at University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital, where Mayor Gorton joined Kentucky Nurses Association Bluegrass Chapter members and UK HealthCare nurses to recognize the first apricot and white ribbons being placed in Lexington.

The colors were chosen for a reason, officials said. The apricot ribbon represents nursing, and is the color of optimism and warmth. White is a universal color of faith and hope that represents all of those on the front lines of health care who are delivering essential services each day.

"The ribbons are an acknowledgment of the dedication of our teams to continue our mission of caring for our patients, our families and our community. We, the nurses at UK HealthCare and the nurses of Kentucky, appreciate the sign of support during this crisis,” said Gwen Moreland, chief nurse executive at UK HealthCare.

“Nurses are critical and irreplaceable members of the health care team on any given day in normal circumstances,” said Melissa Bennett, DHA, RN, CPPS, NEA-BC, FACHE, interim chief nursing officer for CHI Saint Joseph Health. “However, during this unprecedented time in our industry, their value cannot be overstated. I have been a nurse for nearly 30 years, and seeing our nursing team provide tireless, compassionate and safe care for our patients over the past several weeks has made me extremely humbled and honored.”

“We are happy to partner with KNA today to recognize the 1100+ nurses who practice at Baptist Health,” said Karen S. Hill, DNP, RN, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer at Baptist Health Lexington. “They embody faith, optimism and hope every day. The nurses at Baptist Health have gone above and beyond to treat the patients we have cared for during this time of pandemic as they would want their families treated. We owe them thanks today and always for their professionalism and commitment.”

Kentuckians can show their support by hanging and/or wearing their own apricot and white ribbons. The Kentucky Nurses Association also encourages supporters to post photos of ribbons on social media using the hashtags: #ThankYouNurses #TeamKentucky #TogetherKy

The Lexington ribbon campaign effort would not be possible without the support of the KNA Bluegrass Chapter, Kentucky Utilities, Lexington’s Parks & Recreation (who are helping place ribbons), and the local florists who have donated ribbons and bows: Howard Designs Florist, Oram’s Florist, Ashland Florist, Bella Blooms, and The Best of Flowers.  

For more information on the Kentucky Nurses Association, the voice for all Kentucky nurses since 1906, and other ways to support Kentucky nurses, visit kentucky-nurses.org.