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Mary’s Musings: Nurses are the Heartbeat of Healthcare

By Mary Bridges, chaplain

When I was born, my oldest sister Dorothy was in nurse’s training at what was then Asbury Hospital in Salina. I still have the penny postcard my dad sent her to announce my birth. She worked as a private duty nurse for many years.

My sister Betty, who was 10 years older than I, worked as a nurse’s aide for a year after she graduated from high school, waiting for her best friend to graduate so they could go to nurse’s training at St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Hutchinson together. However, after completing just two years of the three-year course, she eloped. That ended her training because married women could not go to nurses’ training.

Growing up, family and friends just assumed that I, too, would want to become a nurse. I had absolutely no interest in anything medical. I discovered while raising my children, I hated the sight of blood and could not handle people in pain. My son split his head open in a fall and while babysitting my nephew, he fell out of a tree. Trying to hold their hands while the doctor was stitching them up was agonizing for me. I vowed then that I would never take a job having anything to do with ‘nursey’ stuff.

When I became an interim pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Lindsborg, I found myself in the ICU at Wesley Hospital twice in the first two weeks I was there. A few months later, I found myself in the ICU at SRHC, providing support for a family as their loved one was being taken off life support. As I was leaving the hospital, I remember thinking God certainly has a sense of humor, look where he has led me these past few months…hospitals, a place I never wanted to be.

What I have learned about nurses during my time here at Presbyterian Manor is that we are blessed with the best, most caring, compassionate nurses I have ever had the opportunity to know or work with. Their care of our residents and their families goes over and above their job description. They provide holistic care as they meet not only their physical needs but also provide mental, emotional and spiritual support.

When I asked our Director of Nurses, Stephanie Goetz, to define what a nurse is, she thought for a moment and then said, “A nurse is an individual called to provide comfort and care for people from all walks of life, and in addition they guide, teach, and educate.”

When you see a nurse this month, thank them for all they do or sit down and write a thank-you note. Drop the notes off at the front office or my office so I can share them our nursing staff.

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