On National Nurses Day, we raise awareness of all the tireless dedication, life-enhancing contributions, and unrelenting commitment seen in nurses every day.
The Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center acknowledges the vital role nurses play in our society and communities. In special celebration of nurses in our own backyard, let us introduce you to these very special ladies on our public health team.
From the time she was a young girl, Linda wanted to help people when they were injured or ill. As she grew older, seeing the variety of places nurses worked and their range of specialties only reinforced her desire to become a nurse.
"To me, public health means to prevent disease or injury in general. To improve the health of communities... develop or maintain programs to promote the health of the general population and to collaborate with others to promote the wellbeing of the people within the communities we serve." ~Linda
It's not always easy. While she enjoys getting to interact with people and meeting them wherever they are on their health continuum, what she finds most challenging is trying to balance individual freedoms with the public good. For the past two years, Linda – and nurses overall – have had to deal with the chronic underlying stress of trying to do the right thing for people as individuals and for public health overall in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is no easy feat and deserves our utmost appreciation. Thankfully, Linda is unwavering in her commitment to being that nurse she always dreamed of.
We're glad she is and we know that she's kind to herself while at it. To relax, Linda likes to meditate in quite places and she can't get enough of her little dog, curled up on her lap in the evenings after work. Thank you for all you do, Linda!
Lindsay's interest to work in healthcare started at a very young age, but it was as a senior in high school when she took a job shadowing at the local healthcare clinic that she just knew being a nurse was her calling.
"As a nurse, we see people at their most vulnerable times. People let us see the good and bad; they trust us. Nurses make a difference in people’s lives. My favorite thing about being a nurse is getting to help people every day and their trust to let me do so." ~Lindsay
Unsurprisingly, her most challenging part of being a nurse in the last year was working in a pandemic. COVID-19 changed healthcare in many ways. Staffing shortages, for example, made it incredibly difficult to provide the best care possible. Demanding hours, no change in pay, and increase in work and responsibilities are some of the challenges that created burn out in the health care field. Still, public health is Lindsay's passion and she knows that nursing, especially, is a profession that never stops giving.
Today, Lindsay's focus is mostly on people living with HIV and helping them engage and stay in care. She sees her role in public health as working behind the scenes to prevent illness and disease, promote health, and protect her patients and community. It's a community she loves dearly too.
"I grew up in a small town in southeast Missouri so I love the small-town feel, [and] the fact that there are many things to do here. I went to college and met my husband here, so I have many memories here." ~Lindsay
If you run into her, give her a Baja Blast Mountain Dew and she'll be your best friend. If that's what it takes to show you our appreciation, Lindsay, we'd give you an endless stock!
A couple of weeks ago, Susan attended a virtual conference on the topics of early childhood education and childhood resilience. There, she heard a quote from Dr. Adolph Brown so powerful that she keeps it posted on her fridge at home as a daily reminder. He said, “You are responsible for whatever energy you bring into a room.” Susan loves that it's about having a positive attitude.
A positive attitude is just the recipe for being a terrific nurse. On any given day, Susan sees moms coming in WIC, parents bringing their babies for their immunizations, people coming in for CPR certification, or daycare workers who reach out to her for their required CEUs or health-related questions that arise in their daycares. What Susan enjoys most about being a nurse is their stories. Everyone has a story and maybe Susan sprinkles her positive attitude on them to make someone's day (and hers).
"Public Health to me represents the whole of all of us here at the health department, working together... and [with] community agencies and organizations to keep our county’s residents as informed and as healthy as they can be." ~Susan
As it has been for nurses all across the world, the last year has also been challenging for Susan. Social distancing has been difficult. She never realized how much she missed the close contact with her clients and patients until she couldn’t get close! Human touch is important, and can be a source of strength and comfort and understanding. It was difficult for her to not be able to offer even a simple touch to someone who could really use some support. But remember, Susan keeps it positive! She loves to try to help whoever needs it, if she's able. For her, nursing is a natural outlet for feeling like she has put something good into a world that really seems to need more "good".
It's actually a lot of good that she puts into this world. We're grateful for you and your positivity, Susan!
Nurses everywhere deserve recognition. Dedicated nurses deserve the best practice environments and to be supported in their trade. These are just a few organizations whose missions revolve around reinforcing a competent and satisfied nursing workforce. Donate, get involved, or learn more about them to show your support.
On this National Nurses Day, we celebrate their dedication and commitment to their patients and their profession. From the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, a heartfelt thanks to nurses in our community and across the US.
Source: individual personal interviews