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Nurses invited to May 11 Nightingale service

Jennifer Schauland, RN

Wounded Crimean War soldiers witnessed as "the lady with the lamp" tended to their needs through the nighttime hours. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) worked to ease their suffering while she made hospital rounds alone and in the dark with only the illumination from her lamp to light the way as she cared for patients in distress.

Nightingale stands out as a pioneer in the nursing field and is credited as a founder of professional nurses' training. One hundred years since her death, The Nightingale Pledge is still taken by entry-level nurses as they begin their careers.

To mark the century anniversary of Nightingale's contributions to nursing and to honor area nurses in the community, St. Joseph's Area Health Services is inviting all retired, practicing and future nurses to attend the fourth annual Florence Nightingale service from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 11 at Riverside Methodist Church.

The service is held annually as part of National Nurses' Week, May 6-12, and in conjunction with Nightingale's birth. This year, nurses are being honored for "Caring Today for a Healthier Tomorrow."

Whether active or retired, Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and nursing students in any field or department are welcome to attend.

National Nurses' Week is a chance to honor the local nursing work force, past and present, for their dedication to their healing mission, passion for their profession and their commitment to patient safety. Nurses everywhere work in a profession that is said to function as both art and science.

Although Marion Feil, LPN, certainly didn't carry a lamp with her while tending to patients at St. Joseph's Area Health Services, she did care for them during the night shifts. At age 73, she retired from St. Joseph's in 2008 having worked 41 years in the field.

Feil was so passionate about her work her children finally had to tell her: "Mom, you can't work forever."

"I loooved it!" Feil exclaims. "I loved being with patients, and I loved the people I worked with. I loved all of it."

Feil remembers always wanting to be a nurse; many in her family pursued nursing as a career. She believes nurses are dedicated and compassionate people and have to like what they're doing. "Give a nurse a challenge, and they will get it done," she says. The team at St. Joseph's works to treat patients the same way they would want members of their own family to be treated, she adds.

Deb Haagenson, RN, St. Joseph's vice president of Patient Care and named to Minnesota's Board of Nursing last year, holds the work performed by nurses in high regard.

"Nurses combine compassion and the science of healthcare to advocate for and provide not only what the patient wants, but also what the patient needs to maintain and regain optimum health," she says. "Because nurses are present in a hospital 24/7, they serve as a surveillance system for early detection and intervention. They serve to impact the care environment and outcome for patients."

Further, she adds that nurses work to promote, protect, prevent illness and injury, alleviate suffering and advocate for individuals, families and communities.

St. Joseph's Jennifer Schauland, RN, agrees wholeheartedly with Haagenson.

When Schauland took her Nightingale Pledge in 1975, she remembers feeling overwhelmed by the thought that she was dedicating her "whole life" to nursing.

Ongoing education, course training, experience, intense focus on quality care, changing with ever-evolving technologies and offering empathy and compassion to the human condition became a part of her job description.

Schauland has worn many hats throughout her nursing career. She has served in hospitals, clinics and a nursing home, worked in coding and transcription and cared for patients as a floor nurse as well as in x-ray, lab, cardiology and chemotherapy. She also serves as St. Joseph's representative to the Minnesota Nurses Association.

"It is very gratifying, rewarding, challenging and stimulating," Schauland summarizes her 35 years in nursing. She sees the role of nurses as one of serving patients with caring and compassion as well as being their voice and advocate.

Perhaps the best professional memories in nursing for Schauland will be her time since she arrived at St. Joseph's in 2002.

"There is really a strong sense of teamwork here that includes all levels of patient care," she says. "The collaborative spirits include nurses, physicians, various departments and the administration." She adds that patient care is enhanced with that kind of teamwork in place.

Following the Florence Nightingale service, authentic recipes from the 1800s will be shared. Seating for the Nightingale service is limited; RSVP as soon as possible by calling Kathy at 237-5503.