NNW 2014Nurses are an integral part of our health care system. With dedication to their work, they take on responsibilities requiring much courage, vigilance, and understanding. National Nurses Week provides us with the opportunity to recognize nurses that lead the way for their communities – in both their neighborhoods and in their fields. Below are a few nurses that have made news headlines in previous months. Their heroic acts and relentless service are exemplary models of commitment to the profession.

1)      Martha Keochareon

Once a student of the nursing school at Holyoke Community College, Martha Keochareon, who was in hospice care due to her cancer, decided to take a leap of courage by helping her fellow nurses in a way that had not been done before. Keochareon called her alma mater and proposed to the program teachers that she be used as a case study. By offering herself as an instruction in caring, Keochareon allowed nursing students to experience with her the process of tending to the terminally ill. [NYTimes]

2)      Amelia Nelson

During the 2013 Boston Marathon, Amelia Nelson signed up as a volunteer to assist runners through to the finish line, making sure they were oriented and directed to proper care if they needed it. When the bombs had unexpectedly went off, Nelson sprang into action, providing emergency medical attention to all those who needed it. As a testament of courage to all the runners of the previous year and all those affected by the tragedy, Nelson and other members of the volunteer team ran the marathon in 2014. [NPR]

3)      Deborah Hughes

A pickup driver had accidentally run down a 10-year-old child and an enraged mob of about a dozen people rushed to attack him. When retired nurse Deborah Hughes saw the frenzy from a window in her nearby home, she jumped at the chance to tend to the injured child without hesitation. Hughes had also saved the man from the brutal beatings of the mob that resulted in critical head injuries. [USA Today]

4)      Nathan Filer

To his surprise, mental health nurse Nathan Filer was awarded Britain’s Costa Book Award. In The Shock of the Fall, author Filer charts the lives of a teenage boy struggling through mental illness and coming to terms with his brother’s death. The book provides to its readers an honest look into the complexities of mental illness, replete with language and imagery of the boy’s thought processes. Flier’s story of loss, sadness, and schizophrenia beat out other books from famous authors. [Khaleej Times]

5)      Gail Sandidge

When screams rang out in a medical center, Gail Sandidge rushed to help. Witnesses say they saw a man running through the Texas hospital in the morning with a knife. In an exemplary act of courage, Sandidge attempted to protect employees, patients and visitors in the medical center from the man, but later died after being stabbed in the chest herself. Though the man was later arrested on a street and his motives were not immediately identified, Sandidge’s bravery continues to be remembered. [CNN]

What nurses in your community should be recognized for their heroic deeds?