Paying it forward: Nurses who teach and mentor

“As long as I live, I will never forget my nurse superhero,” Ja’el Mitten told us in her response to our nursing superhero call, but she added something important. It’s because of how that nurse helped her when she was still inexperienced and insecure, she wrote, that “I mentor new nurses and encourage them to ‘pay it forward’”.

Every day and every week, nurses make a difference in people’s lives. “I’m around people on what’s often the worst day of their lives or a difficult time,” an ER nurse told The Guardian, and making those moments easier to bear is nursing heroism in itself. But every nurse had to start somewhere – studying, starting their first job, working their way up from one nursing profession to the next. That’s why the nurses who teach and inspire others are a special kind of nursing superheroes.

Thanks to the stories you sent us, we can highlight two wonderful examples! Like all the other contest winners, they were sent an amazing, Superman-inspired “RN superhero” t-shirt from our brand new Nurse Swag site!

Pam Day

Randi Dean told us about her nurse hero: Pam Day. Pamela is Program Director of the Nurse Assistant & Home Health Aide Training Program at the Catholic Charities Labouré Center in Boston. She is, Randi wrote, “devoted beyond belief”:

She gives countless hours of work. She is a true example of what a nurse is. She devotes her time to working with students, often from challenging backgrounds, to give them inspiration and hope. Pam has made a significant difference in the lives of her students, and has even changed lives. I am one of her program instructors and aspire to follow in her footsteps. Please consider Pam as my true hero.

Photo: Pamela Day

“Pamela’s student pass rate is nearly 100 percent” and she “believes in her students beyond the classroom too, advocating for them at local hospitals for career opportunities”: Catholic Charities

Karen / Hannah

Dorothy Downes nominated “Hannah Railing, so named for setting limits at a Primary Care front desk”. Dorothy originally hired her as an assistant in Community Outreach for a small, rural hospital in the Pacific Northwest, but over time, as her own children grew up, Hannah became a Certified Doula and a “childbirth educator with tons of related credentials”:

As my employee, she helped so many moms, often attending births, providing personalized materials, and loving so many in need of help.

Several years later, Hannah began her RN training in Michigan. She married again to her high school sweetheart, changed her name to her high school name, Karen, and became a grandma. Her commitment to maternal and child health never wavered. Karen started RN school while teaching CNAs, and then LPNs, and has been demonstrating boundless energy for twenty years now:

Karen is so, so, so committed to educating women to help themselves and others. She is kind and encouraging, and committed continually to working as hard as she can to learn – and then, to have others learn about nursing.

By day, Karen teaches and studies; by nights, she works as a nurse in long term care. Unlike many, she can use her education and skill to advance not only patients, families and communities, but also to bring youth into caring maturity and nursing. She is amazing!

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She is a rock star!!!!!