The American Nurses Association estimates there are 4.3 million registered nurses working in every aspect of health care in the United States. Whether delivering care, driving innovation, evolving care delivery systems, or closing gaps in care disparities, nurses are critical to keep our nation healthy and thriving. To celebrate these amazing men and women and honor their contributions and sacrifices, National Nurses Week is celebrated annually between May 6-12, the birthday of renowned nurse Florence Nightingale.
For two Severna Park residents, nursing is their first and only career choice. Danette Readling, clinical nurse educator/acute care for the elderly unit and flex pool, and Jean Duffy, staff nurse in the post anesthesia recovery unit, are just two of the more than 1,030 nurses working in bedside clinical roles or the nearly 100 nurses in management positions at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis.
Readling is officially a first-generation nurse in her family, however, she witnessed the love and kindness her grandfather exhibited when caring for his wife, Readling’s grandmother. This first glimpse into the role a nurse plays in someone’s life profoundly affected Readling.
“I saw how comforted my grandmother was by my grandfather and how much that love lended to her healing,” Readling said. “I wanted to give other people that same feeling.”
Readling started working toward a degree in nursing right out of high school and will celebrate 30 years in the profession in June. She’s been with Anne Arundel Medical Center for 20 years after also working at Howard County General Hospital and on the Eastern Shore.
“It’s so rewarding to me to be with people at the worst times in their lives, to help them get through those challenges whether it’s to help them return to health or to feel comfortable at the end of their life,” Readling said.
She especially loves working with elderly patients because they are “appreciate, trusting and receptive” to care.
Duffy recalls attending the graduation of a nurse cousin when she was a young girl and knew that she, too, wanted to be a nurse. “Nursing is the only career I’ve ever wanted. I didn’t consider anything else.”
She’s been at Anne Arundel Medical Center for 15 years, prior to which she worked in a New York City area hospital in the intensive care unit.
In surgical recovery, Duffy often sees people in pain, but is rewarded in knowing that post-op is the start of their recovery. Although a patient isn’t typically in surgical recovery long, Duffy strives to get to know each and every person in order to quickly assess and address their needs to get them quickly on their road to better health.
Certainly the last two years have been challenging for all frontline health care providers and first responders, but these Severna Park residents say the response from the community continues to amaze the AAMC nurses. Whether it’s police cars serenading the hospital with sirens blaring, businesses, organizations and individuals dropping off meals and desserts, handwritten notes of appreciation, or the thousands of handmade masks and hats made just for them, nurses who provide comfort and care every day are feeling the love returned in spades.
Both Readling and Duffy expect to stay with Luminis Health until they retire. “I don’t ever see myself doing anything else,” exclaimed Duffy. “Nursing is a very rewarding career.”
Numerous Nurses Week events are being planned at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center, such as food trucks on campus for nurses including Nicolette’s Pizza, Glazy Days Dessert, and a funnel cake truck; performances by musicians from the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra; shoe fittings and giveaways from the Charm City Run Mobile Unit; and other giveaways and education opportunities.
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