North America

Nurses: A Life-Saving Dedication

In the U.S., National Nurses Week highlights the role of a profession based on care.

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission
Nurses: A Life-Saving Dedication

In the United States, National Nurses Week is celebrated each year from May 6 to 12. Every day of the year, nurses provide care for whole health — body, mind, and spirit. Never has that been more evident than during the pandemic. Nurses have been there to care for the sick, comfort families, pick up extra shifts, and work tirelessly to keep communities safe. In celebration of National Nurses Week in 2022, three nurses from AdventHealth Shawnee Mission share glimpses of the inspiration and tremendous impact that all nurses make on their communities.

Ashley Jones
Nursing Director of Mother, Baby, and Nursery

Why did you become a nurse? 

When I was 13, my mom had twins who spent eight weeks in the NICU, so we spent a lot of time with nurses, and I fell in love with nursing through that experience.

What has been an impactful moment for you as a nurse? 

In January 2021, Emily Huffman [AdventHealth Shawnee Mission Regional Supply Chain Director] called to tell me she needed help with administering a few COVID-19 vaccines and asked if I was interested. I agreed, and through the hard work of many AdventHealth leaders/team members and Church of the Resurrection volunteers, we were able to administer 50,000 COVID-19 vaccines to members of the community.

That is easily the most important moment in my nursing career. I will never forget the 102-year-old woman who sent in a handwritten note “to whoever is in charge” asking for help because she didn’t know how to register online to receive the vaccine, or the elderly man in a wheelchair who couldn’t help but cry tears of relief when we agreed to give a vaccine to his pregnant daughter who was waiting in the car.

It was an absolute privilege to work alongside Emily. Her leadership, hard work, and dedication to keeping patients safe absolutely inspired me.

Eva Shay
Labor and Delivery Director

Why did you become a nurse? 

Looking back, I think I was destined to be a nurse. My grandma was a CNA for First Lady Bess Truman. She went to nursing school after raising her kids, and I vividly remember reading her nursing books, looking at anatomy models and asking millions of questions.

My grandma went on to become an oncology nurse for her career. Up until the age of 14, I had my heart set on pursuing a law degree. That all changed the day I went to “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” with my stepmom, who was a NICU nurse. I got to shadow Labor and Delivery and nursery nurses, attending deliveries for the day. It was then that I fell in love with nursing and never looked back.

What keeps you in the profession? 

There is a quote that I love that I think sums it up perfectly: “Your profession is not what brings home your weekly paycheck. Your profession is what you’re put here on earth to do, with such passion and such intensity that it becomes spiritual in calling.”

I love having a profession that allows me to make an impact in many different ways, from the patients I care for to the team I work alongside. Nurses are smart, strong, passionate people. What better people to be surrounded by! Now more than ever, nurses have shown themselves to be innovators, advocates, and leaders in health care.

Lauren Stillwell
Emergency Department

Why did you become a nurse?

I love helping people and being able to provide compassion and understanding of what they may be experiencing. As a former elementary teacher, I love the unknown of what I may encounter throughout my day. I love not knowing who I will meet or the challenges that I may face.

Who inspires you? 

I continue to be inspired by the patients and the family members that take the time to personally thank myself and my coworkers for all that we do. Whether that is in person, a note, or sending snacks to our department.

My mother has inspired me in many ways. She was a NICU nurse for 50 years at the same hospital in the same department and became the nurse that everyone aspired to be.

I did not become a nurse at first because I wanted to branch out and be a teacher instead of a nurse, but I finally found where I am supposed to be.

What has been an impactful moment for you as a nurse? 

When a patient grabbed me and hugged me to thank me for saving his life only a week prior.

I was a triage nurse, alone, and a man in his 40s walked in the front door doubled over, grabbing his chest and was short of breath. I was checking in another patient at the time but knew that this patient needed my full attention at the immediate time.

I grabbed a wheelchair, checked him in, took him to triage one to get vitals and get an EKG as fast as possible. I was almost running to the doctor to show the EKG printout knowing that it was a STEMI, a serious heart attack where a major artery is blocked.

Just one week later, the same patient had brought his wife into the ER and remembered that I was the one that had gotten him back to a room when he needed help.

His words will always be with me. He said, “Thank you for noticing me when I came in the door. If you weren’t there, I would not be standing here today.” He gave me a large bear hug and said, “Thank you.” I tried so hard not to tear up, but we both were at that time. It was a great feeling!

The original version of this story was posted by the Mid-America Union Conference Outlook.

AdventHealth Shawnee Mission