Nurses Rally at State House, Gov. Bentley Declares 2013 "Year of the Nurse"

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By Heather VacLav

After more than 1200 nurses rallied on the state house steps this morning, Governor Robert Bentley officially declared 2013 as the "Year of the Nurse."

Alabama nurses and student nurses rallied at the annual "Nurse Day at the Capitol" to show they are a force to be reckoned with in the medical community.

Like years past, the Alabama State Nurses Association is asking lawmakers to create scholarships to bring more nurses to our state to learn, and hopefully fill the shortage of nurses.

Hundreds of students chanted, and say as the future of Alabama medicine they want to be appreciated.

"We are saving people every day and a lot of people just over look that because we are just one of the other people in the hospital," said Ashley Ivey, a nursing student at Auburn University at Montgomery. "We're taking care of people's lives and we're doing it out of generosity and love and care for some stranger."

Following last year's rally in April 2012, a law passed to create nursing scholarships up to $10,000 for nurses seeking master's or doctorate degrees. However,  the Alabama State Nurses Association says it's not enough incentive to keep most nurses here, especially for advanced nurses in rural areas.

"I think that we need scholarships for those nurses to go back to school, and to become advanced nurses practitioners, so that they can run clinics and serve patients where physicians aren't available," said Deborah Andrews, Executive Director at Ball HealthCare Services in Birmingham.

Thursday marks 100 years since Alabama nurses began rallying.

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