Up & Coming Weekly

May 02, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 14 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 14 UCW MAY 3 - 9, 2023 Nurse says helping people became her calling by AUBRETTE REID COVER A young girl named Hilda sits by her Grandmother's bedside and starts thinking this is where she wants to be. She wants to be in a hospital and help sick people get better. Hilda Edwards believes that was the day God put the dream to be a nurse into her heart. From that day forward, nursing became her calling. Knowing that nursing was her call- ing helped her while in school, along with knowing that she could overcome any obstacles through hard work. When things got difficult, she recalled, "All I could think about was help- ing people." It was clear that nothing would stop her from becoming the nurse she was meant to be. After completing her nursing degree in 1979, she worked in various depart- ments as a Registered Nurse, includ- ing the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), Obstetric and Gynecology, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Psychiat- ric, and Pediatrics. ose experiences provided her with "an insurmountable amount of knowledge about different things." Furthermore, she also learned a lot from the patients. Her concentration, however, was in pediatrics. She missed pediatrics and talked about how she worked with some good nurses and loved her job. Regardless of where she worked, she focused on the patients and their families and did her best. Edwards believes that nursing is a calling and more than just a job. She explains, "is job takes a lot of heart and soul ... if you're in it for the mon- ey, you might as well get out. You have to have a heart for people." She also emphasizes the importance of going into nursing to be of service and help people. "We are our brother's keeper. You have to be willing to give of your- self," she says. She would constantly go that extra mile for the patient and their family that put their trust in her because they knew she would take good care of their child. roughout her career, she has witnessed firsthand the toll that nurs- ing can take on an individual. She has seen good nurses she worked with leave because of burnout. Burnout is a concern because it could lead to de- creased job satisfaction and reduced quality of care that a nurse may pro- vide to their patients. Her advice for avoiding burnout is to "know where your boundaries are." ere were many times while Ed- wards was working when there was no time for breaks for the nurses because of how busty and hectic it could be. "Working on the floor, you really learn teamwork," she says. Furthermore, she believes that nurses need some emotional support because the job can be taxing on the heart. At times being understaffed plus long hours, combined with the emotional toll of caring for sick pa- tients, is overwhelming. While working in pediatrics, she recalls, "I sat on the bed many nights and cried." Even though time has passed, she still remembers the pa- tients who got better and those who, sadly, did not. However, she would do it all again because she believes nurs- ing is her calling. Despite the challenges that come with the nursing profession, Edwards says that the rewards outweigh the difficulties. "It's just a joy you get out of making people feel better ... It's the best thing, I've met a lot of patients and mothers, fathers and they still remember me. It makes my heart feel happy and warm," she says. Edwards believes that nurses deserve more pay and more respect. "Nurses are the eyes and ears of doc- tors," she says. Further, nurses are also educators for patients and their loved ones. ey provide instructions for patients on what to expect and how to take care of themselves once they return home. Nurses wear many hats: healers, nurturers, management, edu- cators, and more. Currently, Edwards is working in case management and still helping people and being of service. Registered Nurse Hilda Edwards is an example of the dedication and pas- sion nurses bring to their work daily. Her commitment to caring for her pa- tients, going that extra mile, and doing her best is a reminder of what it truly means to be a healthcare professional. "It's a very rewarding occupation. I would not have changed it for the world," she said. "I've been rewarded in many ways by being a nurse. Just by helping other people." Veteran finds career opportunities in nursing by CHAYENNE BURNS Nurses Week is a time to honor and celebrate all the many roles that nurses play every single day. ey are the backbone and frontline of the health- care field. One registered nurse who is making a difference in Fayetteville is Ashley Justice. A nurse for five years, Justice's nursing career began a little differ- ently than many others. "I was actually a translator in the Air Force for twelve years and I really enjoyed it but as you can imagine, I was overseas a lot. It was time to settle down and find a job that I could enjoy and that I found challenging that also didn't require me to travel as much," she said. ere are over 20 types of nursing specialists so for those that are thinking about nursing, there are plenty of avenues to choose from. Ashley spoke a bit about which career path she's taken as a nurse. "Eventually, I decided to go into Psych and get my Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Degree and I'm work- ing as a RN right now but I did just finish school so we'll see how that goes," Justice said. "I started in Neuro and I found that I enjoyed working with the patients," she said. "Neuro is a lot like Psych, patients aren't really themselves. It's for a different reason like brain tumors or dementia, where as in Psych, it's the neu- rotransmitters aren't firing right basically. I wanted to get more specific and geared towards Psych so I started working in the Psych Emergency Depart- ment up at Duke." Justice was there for a year and a half and found it exciting because there were "people coming in basi- cally at their worst, maybe they were having their first schizophrenic break or going through some bipolar mania thing like that. We would stabilize them. I did enjoy that but I wanted to work with in- patient after I got my Emergency Room experience." Justice has been at Cape Fear since November and said she enjoys the experience. "You get to work with the patients more long-term and best case scenario, you do get to see them get better before they're discharged. Worst case, we do see them back so you kind of see a little of everything." When asked about a piece of advice she would give to a future nurse, Justice said "Be open minded because you might pick a specialty that isn't right for you, but that doesn't mean that nursing isn't right for you. ere are so many avenues you could pursue. I mean you can do labor and delivery, pedi- atrics … there's really anything available to you, it's like a million jobs in the world." CHAYENNE BURNS, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. AUBRETTE REID, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200. Registered Nurse Ashley Justice decided to pursue a career in nursing after 12 years in the Air Force. (Photo courtesy Ashley Justice)

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