Celebrating, appreciating nurses during this week

Published 8:53 pm Friday, May 13, 2016

To all the wonderful women and men who arise each morning, dress in their nurses attire and head off to the hospitals, nursing facilities and other institutions requiring nurses, my sincere apologies. It did not escape my attention that last week, May 6-12, was National Nurses Week. I had every intention to give you dedicated, wonderfully caring people a shout out. Hopefully, even at this late date, it will be meaningful and encouraging to you to know how important and necessary you are to all of us.

I do have an excuse for my tardiness in that I have been pressed into nursing services myself. My wife has been hampered by leg pain the past two weeks restricting her ability to ambulate. Therefore, being the dutiful spouse, caring for her has preoccupied my time and attention without complaints.  Admittedly, my care falls far short of anything a professional nurse could have administered, but adequate, if I do say so. If you want to gain some respect for a good nurse, try doing some of it yourself.

In 1893, a committee headed by Mrs. Lystra Gretter of the Farrand Training School for Nurses of Detriot, Michigan modified and composed a version of the “Hippocratic Oath.” They called it the Florence Nightingale Pledge in reverence to the founder of modern nursing. It sets a high bar for the nursing profession to maintain and follow. A special thanks to Dorothy Chatmon, RN-retired, for repeating the pledge, in addition to being a nurse, in the Friday, May 13 edition of the The Selma Times-Journal.

I could weave a web of compliments to all the angels in nursing attire, but some have said it much better than I ever could. For instance, Maya Angelou said: “As a nurse, we have the opportunity to heal the heart, mind, soul and body of our patients, their families and ourselves.  They may not remember your name, but they will never forget the way you made them feel.”

Another favorite of mine is “A nurse is compassion in scrubs.” — Lexie Saige, and “Nurses dispense comfort, compassion and caring without even a prescription.” — Val Saintsbury.

But perhaps my very favorite is: “Nurses, one of the few blessings of being ill.” — Sara Moss-Wolfe

However, whatever the clever words used to describe our nurses, they all fall short of the compassioned care we receive. Nurses are a national treasure and none more so than Marion resident and World War II Nurse, Geraldine Vaden. Gerry, as she prefers to be called, is just that, a national treasure.

She served in North Africa and Europe during the war and also as head nurse at Fort Slocumb, New York treating battle injured soldiers. After the war, she spent the rest of her life either practicing or teaching her profession at Marion Military Institute and Judson College.

We love you Gerry, hope your week was wonderful.