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Archive November 2020 XXI, No. 11

Editor's Page

The World's Best Nurse

Daniel Cook

Daniel Cook, Editor-in-Chief

BIO

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It's the year of the nurse, and what a year it's been. The amazing people whose profiles begin on page 22 are celebrated as deserving representatives of a profession filled with dedicated providers who give more than they receive, are admired more than they know and worthy of more praise than they get.

But they can't hold a stethoscope to the world's best nurse. She developed a passion for caregiving as a child while tending to her ailing grandmother in her family's multigenerational home. She met her husband by chance during nursing school in Philadelphia when the tailwind of a passing truck turned her toward a kind woman standing next to her on a busy corner. They got to talking and the woman said her son was attending medical school at the same university where she was working toward her RN. A first date led to another and soon they were married, beginning a love affair that's still going strong.

She learned how to drive stick on her new husband's beloved Firebird, burning the clutch and bucking the car so hard that he bit through his pipe between curses. She was a quick study, though. A few months later, as he was walking home from the hospital near their small apartment, he heard his car before he saw it, and caught a glimpse of his wife's grin as she wound through the gears and blew past him.

There were cringe worthy moments during her career. A chauvinist surgeon said, "Teach this girl how to pass a scalpel before I get hurt."

There was heartbreak. She once had to walk a baby who died during birth to the hospital's morgue, where she lovingly cleaned and wrapped the tiny body.

There was beauty. She trimmed the hair of an old man in his hospital bed, a small gesture that made his spirits soar. It was a reminder of the power nurses hold.

There was more joy than she could have imagined with the arrival of three kids, whose needs she put above her own ambitions. She stayed home to patch cuts, soothe scrapes and fight fevers. She even performed an emergency surgery in the middle of the night to sew a button-eye on a beloved Teddy Bear as her distraught son looked on.

When her kids grew older, she returned to the profession she loved, this time as an elementary school nurse. For 20 years she ran a tiny office with a big heart, triaging ear infections and runny noses while pulling erasers from ears and splinters from rears. That's not to make light of her responsibilities. At one point, she alone managed the care of 675 students and staff.

She's retired now, but as compassionate, caring, loving, selfless and kind as ever. She's a nurse, after all. Love you, Mom. OSM

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