National Nurses’ <br>Week celebrates local caregivers
Nursing is not a nine to five job.
Instead, it is a job that requires a caring attitude and commitment, said Nell Brown, head nurse at Williams Health Care Center.
“You have to be dedicated,” she said. “You have to give good quality care to people.
“Sometimes, you have to go above and beyond the call of duty.”
To spotlight the hard work of these caregivers, the Williams Health Care Center has joined together with the American Nurses Association to honor the more than 2.6 million registered nurses nationwide, May 6-12.
“In honor of the dedication, commitment and tireless efforts of registered nurses everywhere, WHCC will pay tribute to our local nurses at a luncheon in their honor,” said Cindy Christman, director of WHCC. “They will be recognized for the quality work they provide seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
The group gathered Tuesday for the celebration.
It was during high school that Norma McDowell, 48-year veteran of the nursing profession, said she knew she wanted to take care of people. This led her to attend nursing school.
“When I got out of school, I came back here (Williams) to work,” she said. “When I turned 21, I went into the Navy.”
For four years, McDowell traveled the globe in search of adventure and was stationed in New York, San Diego, Guam and Japan.
“After I got out, I went to work for the Atomic Energy Commission in Los Alamos, N.M.,” she said.
After her son was born, McDowell decided to head home.
“This is where I started (nursing) and where I wanted to raise my children,” she said.
Upon returning to Williams, McDowell started working for the Williams Unified School District as the school nurse and for the health care center.
“I worked at the school and WHCC for 20 years and then I retired from the school and continued to work part-time here,” she said. “I work here because I absolutely love this profession.
“I’d rather be here than anywhere else because of the people I come into contact with.”
McDowell said this includes the staff and the community. She said after working in town for 25 years she knows “everybody in town.”
Letting go of work after hours is something Brown is unable to do.
“I sometimes take my patients home (in my thoughts),” she said. “I care about people and that they’re in good health. I love taking care of people, being around people.
“Our job is to help people not just putting in eight hours.”
Brown was born and raised in town so working in Williams is nothing new to her.
“I worked at the hospital as an aid while I was attending nursing school,” she said. “I worked the evening shift and went to school during the day.”
After graduation, Brown worked at Flagstaff Medical Center for two years.
“I’ve been in Williams since 1977,” she said. “I worked in surgery every Wednesday when it (WHCC) was a hospital.”
Brown said nursing has changed a lot during her tenure.
“They’re not so focused on patients,” she said. “Every patient is different. They’re individuals. You have to look at the person and you have to listen to the patient.”
Nursing has moved into a new realm, McDowell said.
“Nursing has changed from people care to paperwork,” she said. “That’s because of all the litigation.
“You have to document everything you say and do, and it takes away from time with the patient.”
Another drawback is health maintenance organizations, commonly known as HMO’s.
“They dictate how doctors care for people, what medicines they can prescribe and who they recommend,” McDowell said.
The only way to change the direction nursing is going, is to reduce the number of people suing each other, McDowell said.
“I would like to see people become less lawsuit conscious so we could spend more time caring for them,” she said.
Brown said nowadays nurses can delegate some of their work to the certified medical sssistants. However, Brown takes a more hands-on approach.
“I like to do it myself,” she said.
She said that way she gets a chance to speak to the patient and see how they are doing.
“However, I wouldn’t be able to live without them,” she added about the CMAs.
“We work with the best people in Arizona,” McDowell said.
The staff at WHCC includes nurses Brown, McDowell, Betty Wilkins and Nora DiMuria, three CMAs, one nurse practitioner, four doctors, two physical therapist, an X-ray/lab technician, four office staff and Christman.
“It takes all these elements for excellent patient care,” McDowell said. “We strive for quality care in a friendly hometown atmosphere.”
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