I am grateful each and every day for the heroic service of health care professionals. Those of us in hospital and health system leadership roles see the dedication, talent and hard work of our teams, hour after hour, day after day.

This coming week while many people take time off work to gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, many health care professionals will be at work or on call to care for those who are ill or injured. We rely on the health care workforce to keep hospitals running 24/7, which makes the job so important.

But we know that our work is difficult and stressful as well. Front-line health care workers experience challenging conditions on the job, work long hours with rotating and irregular shifts, and face emotionally difficult situations with patients and family members. They also risk exposure to diseases and other hazards, including workplace violence and routine exposure to human suffering and death.

Yet care teams show compassion and resilience daily. This has been tremendously clear during the past few years of the COVID-19 pandemic during which they have overcome countless obstacles and sacrificed more than anyone should.

What our front-line health care workers accomplish every day is nothing short of amazing.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to express gratitude to the health care professionals in our families, neighborhoods and communities. In our encounters with health care providers, we can offer patience and grace. We also can provide encouragement to people who are considering a career in health care. The AHA has published many resources to help support and strengthen the health care workforce.

As the holiday season begins, I know many people are still grieving the loss of loved ones. It’s been a trying time for communities and the country as we come out of the pandemic. This week, I wish you peace, strength and hope as we move toward healthier days ahead.

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