FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – To kick off National Nurses Week, Broward Health Imperial Point celebrated with a tree planting and dedication ceremony to honor and recognize the committed and caring team of nurses at the Fort Lauderdale hospital.

A lignum vitae, also known as the “tree of life,” was planted at the hospital’s main entrance with nurses from various departments taking turns adding dirt to ground the sapling. The tree is a native species of Florida and is known for its combination of toughness, resiliency and adaptability, which is representative of nurses’ career qualities.

“Remember, that the strongest trees have weathered the greatest storms just as nurses have over the last two years,” said Netonua Reyes, MSN, chief nursing officer at Broward Health Imperial Point. “This has made us stronger with deeper roots that anchor us here, where we can grow in our professional practice of nursing.”

The tree will forever represent nurses at Broward Health, officials said. Its roots spread out in all directions, as well as its branches, symbolizing how the health system is connected to the diverse community it serves. The trunk represents a single unit, linking healthcare providers together for years to come and providing nourishment, shade and shelter, just as nurses do.

“We specifically chose this tree because of its adaptability and individuality,” said Rachel Chavez, RN, manager of the progressive care unit at Broward Health Imperial Point. “Every tree is unique just like our nurses.”

“We all grow in different directions and will grow around something if it gets in our way,” she added. “The roots that we have planted remind us that to grow, we need to be grounded, and no matter how high we go, our roots will offer us stability.”

In addition to planting the tree, Broward Health Imperial Point is celebrating National Nurses Week, which is May 6 -12, and National Hospital Week, May 8 – 14, by treating nurses to massages, guided imagery, yoga, aromatherapy and breakfast, lunch and ice cream parties throughout the month.