Celebrating the Year of the Nurse

Published: Nov. 11, 2020 at 5:31 AM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - 2020 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the woman considered to be the founder of modern nursing. To honor her and all those in the profession, the World Health Organization has named 2020 the Year of the Nurse.

Shawn Richter, a registered nurse at Marshfield Clinic Health System in Rice Lake, says she has enjoyed every aspect of the nursing industry for 25 years now.

“I personally have worked from medical surg., ICU, emergency department, cardiology, surgery, case management, I’ve done it all, I’ve loved every single area of it,” said Richter.

All those years of experience have taught her that treatment goes beyond the physical.

“We have to look at all of their medical needs, we have to look at their social needs, their spiritual needs, make sure they have a good support system," said Richter. "Every bit of it makes a difference, absolutely.”

At Marshfield Clinic Health System in Rice Lake, it’s a tight-knit team caring for a tight-knit community.

“I was born and raised in this area, so I’m taking care of people that were my teachers, that were my parents' friends, that were people that I went to school with, my coworkers, and that is a definite benefit,” said Richter.

Just two months ago, one of those co-workers became the most recent patient in the oncology department. Dr. David Henningsen is a family medicine physician at Marshfield Clinic in Rice Lake. Now he’s letting his own team take care of him.

“Pancreatic cancer is not a good cancer to have. There’s definitely a possibility that I won’t make it through this," said Henningsen. “I’ve seen their compassion with other patients, with patients of mine, and it’s just so reassuring to see their faces when I walk in.”

“You have to be very empathetic," said Shawn Cleveland, the nursing manager at Marshfield Clinic Health System in Rice Lake. "We also have to be really good cheerleaders. We have to help these patients and their families.”

″We never had to option to shut down because of Covid. We have to be here," said Richter. “We can’t just say to our patients, ‘You’re not getting your chemotherapy today or this month or now several months into this pandemic.’ We have to be here and so we have to take every precaution necessary to take care of our patients.”

“Doctors don’t spend a lot of time with patients," said Henningsen. "We sort of figure out what’s going on and give patients direction, but the nurses are the ones that sit with them, and for some times hours at a time, and I think can better understand their pain both physical and emotional and respond to it. The compassion that nurses show is just invaluable.”

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