When third-grader Kloey Jackson hurt her knee, she knew right where to turn. School nurse Brittany McGee was ready to provide care.
“Nurse Brittany helps me feel better,” said Kloey. “She just put a Band-Aid on my cut and she gave me ice packs when I bumped my head. I’m glad she’s here.”
Last week, May 6-12, was National Nurses Week and nurses throughout the community were recognized for their efforts. As the school nurse at West Elementary, McGee says she loves her job.
“It is very empowering to be with the kids throughout the day,” said McGee. “They can be the most joyful people regardless of what’s going on in their lives and they bring so much happiness to me.”
Many local nurses admit it can be a taxing job emotionally as they develop strong bonds with their patients, which makes it tough when the patient’s health is declining. Additionally, healthcare is always evolving so nurses can’t remain stagnant in their education or they risk falling behind in advances in treatments and best practices for their patients.
“You have to learn to keep your emotions in check to be able to think clearly and carry out the care your patient needs,” explained LPN and Tennessee Oncology operations manager Melinda Martin. “Even off the clock, I’ve thought about people I’ve cared for and wondered ‘Can they afford their medications? Do they have groceries or clean clothes?’ Nursing is hard, but very rewarding and humbling at the same time.”
In McMinnville, all of the registered nurses at Tennessee Oncology proudly displayed homemade appreciation cards they’d received from Hickory Creek Elementary students.
“It’s nice to feel appreciated,” said Kay Armstrong, an RN who is oncology certified. “People who do oncology, I feel we are called to our position. It is not something everyone can do, but we love our patients and our joy is taking care of them and helping them and their family through the journey.”
Oncology nurses take care of people with the diagnosis of cancer and many patients were eager to express their heartfelt appreciation and brag on the nurses that had administered care.
“I think you appreciate nurses because they’re like the unsung heroes of what goes on in a hospital,” said patient Dale McClary. “Sometimes you’ll sleep and they are taking care of you. Sometimes they pitch in because there is some kind of trauma that’s occurred and for me, I have felt nothing but respect and love for them.”