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Nurses week: SE Health nurses share their passion

On Tuesday, we take viewers to Southeast Health where two nurses share their purpose.
Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Nurses week is May 6th through the 12th, to celebrate News 4 is featuring nurses from around the Wiregrass. On Tuesday, we take viewers to Southeast Health where two nurses share their purpose.

“I feel as if God always has a plan and a purpose for us,” CarolLee Heard, Critical Care Nurse at Southeast Health, said.

Heard realized her purpose around the age of seven.

“My mother was critically ill and so I went through a lot of challenging times with her and so I feel as if this career just came as second nature to me,” Heard said.

Heard is a critical care nurse who has been in the medical field for 30 years.

“All of us nurses, we have our different specialty and I believe that we are all given a special gift or talent from God,” Heard said.

Heard’s approach: getting to know something personal about patients and their families.

“Since COVID, families aren’t allowed you know to be there,” Heard said. “So, you are actually stepping into the role as their family while they are here. So, if you can learn something personal about that person and get a smile or hold their hand and show them empathy and compassion then you are able to relate closely with your patient and pick up on any changes or anything they might have.”

Like Heard, many nurses believe this career path is a calling.

“I think that this career path chose me,” Bea Smith, Critical Care Nurse at Southeast Health, said.

Smith is a critical care nurse who began her journey in the medical field at Southeast Health 22 years ago. Trying to decide what to do as a young professional, she knew she always wanted to care for people.

“I started working in a nursing home and I knew that I wanted to do more and so when I came here as a PCA everything just lined up and it was my hearts passion to be a nurse,” Smith said.

Smith said everyday is a new day in the field and is always learning something new. Especially while working during the pandemic.

“We are just maintaining with trying to keep a balance of home life, work life and still maintain some sanity,” Smith said.

Even during the lowest times, she keeps the big picture in mind.

“Knowing that you are the only one that they might see, being able to care for patients and knowing that they seek the hospital as getting good care and you’re the health official that they seek and you give that good care,” Smith said.

And being a connection to patients.

“A lot of times they don’t have that, as the family cannot come in or they’re afraid to come in and you might be that last connection to them in the outside world,” Smith said. “So, you give compassion and we show empathy and it just drives you to do better and come in each day.”

Heard receives recognition, but also recognizes her colleagues, saying they are in this together.

“To all of my fellow nurses, happy nurses’ week and we are going to continue to do everything together as a team,” Heard said.

Southeast Health gives thanks to their nurses not just this week, but everyday.

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