A group of health care workers has been getting some special attention of their own recently.
Mosaic Life Care and the St. Joseph community have spent the past week honoring and recognizing nurses for their hard work and dedication to their careers during National Nurses Week.
Megan DeVorss has been a nurse for Mosaic for 10 years. Unlike many in the profession, she said she didn’t discover her passion for nursing right away.
“As a junior, you meet with your counselor and they say, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and I had no clue, but that was not acceptable,” DeVorss said. “I was in a serious relationship at the time in our small town, and I didn’t want to move away to go to college. So nursing was something I could do with my friends and stay at home to do. So I started nursing school.”
DeVorss works as a nurse in Albany where she takes on many different roles.
“I’m an outpatient RN,” DeVorss said. “I work with our specialty clinic doctors and our satellite clinics that come from St. Joe or Maryville to deliver services to Albany so our patients can see providers closer to home. I also help out with our surgery area. I help with our MOU and infusion department. I’m also our wound care coordinator for inpatient, outpatient and clinic.”
Despite enduring daily stress and difficult situations, DeVorss said the connections she has made with patients keep her in the nursing industry.
“I love creating those relationships with those family members,” DeVorss said. “When you work in a rural area, a lot of those people you see again. Being able to see some of them now and visit with them about how they’re doing since their family member passed, that is something that I have really enjoyed and has been very impactful.”
Sara Chamberlain has been a nurse with Mosaic for 12 years. She found herself interested in the career when she was a student at Savannah High School.
“We had our health occupations class so I dove right into that, wanted to give it a try and do something different,” Chamberlain said. “I fell in love with it. It opened a lot of options for me. I could see nursing from a whole bunch of different standpoints. With nursing, you’re not going to go in and have the same day every single day.”
While Chamberlain found pediatrics to be one of the most intimidating clinicals, she quickly fell in love with the unit and has been there ever since.
“Pediatric clinicals actually scared the heck out of me, but I landed my job there because of just the reputation of our Lakeside Pediatric clinic,” Chamberlain said. “I interviewed with them and instantly fell in love with it. I truly cannot imagine doing anything different at this point.”
Making a difference in someone’s life has kept Chamberlain in her career.
“Just the satisfaction of being able to help patients and help their families,” Chamberlain said. “Nursing is always going above and beyond, and so I’m appreciative to be able to do that every day. My babies are growing up now. Five years in, I was giving my babies kindergarten shots and watching them go off to kindergarten. Now, they’re going into high school and even coming full circle. Some of my patients are becoming parents now and bringing their kids back. That’s a really fun thing to get to watch.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for everyone, DeVorss said it helped shine a light on the true importance of nurses.
“We call ourselves the backbone of health care,” said DeVorss. “I think COVID-19 kind of brought to light how important nurses are in health care in general. We really pulled up our bootstraps during that time and a lot of us left our homes and didn’t know when we would be returning.”
Chamberlain said the pandemic brought together health care workers like never before.
“It was a scary time but it was a time where we all kind of had to band together and work through it,” Chamberlain said. “That took a lot of different ideas and working together from different departments to make sure that our patients were safe, to make sure that we were safe. At the same time, we were there for our community and still showed up and were able to take care of everybody as needed, even though that very scary time.”
Both Chamberlain and DeVorss expressed their gratitude for nurses’ appreciation week.
“It’s really special just to kind of slow down for one week and just get to enjoy it,” Chamberlain said. “I think it’s something that I look forward to every year, and I’m sure a lot of the nurses in the organization do.”
“A lot of us give all of ourselves to our patients or to the organization,” she said. “We are very dedicated people. We are very engaged. We often put everyone before us. That is the nursing characteristic and that’s what makes us great nurses for our patients. It is nice to have one week out of the year where people celebrate us”
With years of building relationships and experiences both Chamberlain and DeVorss don’t see themselves leaving the nursing industry any time soon.
“I love nursing and there’s always room to grow,” Chamberlain said. “So I’m not at the top yet and have room to go up if I need to. It’s nice to work for an organization that really encourages that and supports you to do that.”
DeVorss also plans to stay put.
“I don’t see me doing anything else,” DeVorss said. “A good thing about nursing is you can navigate through different life phases, and you can almost do anything and mold it into what works for home life and what works for that balance. That’s what I love about nursing.”