Journal Times editorial: Celebrating nurses today and every day

From our first moments in life to our last, a nurse is almost always involved. They are one of the first, if not the first, person to hold a newborn baby entering the world. They often are the ones holding a hand as people leave this world.

For all the moments in between, they are there, both to assist doctors and to deal directly with patients in situations pleasant and unpleasant.

This past week was a chance to thank all nurses. The Journal Times is grateful for the opportunity to honor nurses with a recognition luncheon held at Meadowbrook Country Club and a special section in Sunday’s paper, thanks to the sponsorship of Froedtert South, as well as Skin R.N., the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Gateway Technical College, Ridgewood Care Center, Carthage College and Chiappetta Shoes.

In the special section and at the luncheon, 10 amazing nurses were recognized for their work helping the community.

Every day, on the pages of the paper and on our website, we share the stories of vehicle crashes and tragedies. After victims are taken from the scene, they often go to the hospital where they undergo extensive treatment and care.

Nurses, who are there doing the front-line care, often don’t get the recognition they deserve. Many times, they get the brunt of a family’s anger because no one wants to be in need of medical attention.

Other times, we have had criminal complaints that detail nurses being spit on, or worse, just for trying to take a patient’s vital signs.

Last week was a chance to say thank you to nurses who have to deal with all that and more.

Among the stories shared as part of nurses week was Amber Segura’s story. She works at Ascension All Saints and said she is still sad thinking back to the death of her grandfather and the time she spent in the hospital with him.

But she remembers the care the medical staff gave and that is what inspired her to go into nursing.

Jennifer Meekma also shared one of her favorite nursing memories. One Fourth of July, she and some of the staff decided to bring some of the residents out to see fireworks — it was that experience that helped one of her patients transform her attitude. Then, when that patient was nearing her last days of life, they again brought her outside to overlook the lake and look at the stars.

“The resident lay there with her hair blowing in the wind just smiling and enjoying the warm evening under the stars. The next day she passed away. Her family was so grateful for all we did to make sure her last night was memorable,” Meekma recalls.

That is what nursing is all about. It’s about going the extra mile for patients. It’s about making a difference for families. It’s about the little things that mean the word to others.

In the words of Maya Angelou: "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

This week and every week, we say thank you to the nurses who make this community a better, healthier place to live and work.

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