National Nurses Day: Lexington nurses reflect on their profession, impact from pandemic

National Nurses Day: Lexington nurses reflect on their profession, impact from pandemic
Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Last year’s National Nurse Day celebration at Baptist Health was canceled because of the pandemic, and this year was done differently too. This all comes at a time when nurses are being celebrated more than ever.

“The reason that most of us went into healthcare is to help other people and that has not changed,” said Dee Beckman with Baptist Health Lexington.

Beckman and Donita Cantrell both started working at Baptist Health Lexington about 25 years ago. 2020 brought them something they never expected.

Cantrell is the nursing director of a COVID-19 ICU unit, and she’s seen the worst of the virus. The sickness, the loss—but she chooses to look at the positives.

“It’s been amazing over the last year to see people come in being so sick and being able to walk out. That’s, I think, been the biggest reward for us as nurses,” Cantrell said.

Beckman, the chief nursing officer at the hospital, agrees. She said every National Nurses Day is important, but this year they need more support than ever.

“Nursing can be a very stressful profession. And I think we have all recognized that and try to care for each other as we care for our patients. The need for self-care has really been brought to the forefront this past year,” Beckman said.

Even though the pandemic brought challenges, hard work, and heavy emotions, they said being a nurse is worth it.

“I feel lucky to be a nurse. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life,” Cantrell said.

National Nurses Day is today, but National Nurses Week goes through next Wednesday, May 12.

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