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Celebrating ER Nurses Week

October 7, 2019

Have you thanked a nurse lately? Well, here’s your opportunity because this is ER Nurses Week, and UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown is celebrating all the wonderful people who provide care in the most urgent circumstances.

The neatest thank you gift RN Megan Heise ever received didn’t cost a thing. It was a hug from a patient’s family member as the patient was dying. The family member grabbed on to her and rested a head on Heise’s shoulder. Neither spoke the other’s language, and they didn’t need to.

“I felt the utter humanness we all possess,” Heise said. “I felt the hot, wet tears on my shoulder, and I can remember feeling that urge to completely melt with them.”

It’s that compassion and dedication that truly makes for a superior level of care.

“I’m proud of the team we have here in Marshalltown, and I tell patients all the time how lucky they are to have their specific nurse,” says ER Physician and Medical Director Dr. Lance VanGundy. “Most of the RNs think I’m just blowing smoke, but the truth is I mean it, every time.”

RN Mindy Cross was a firefighter/paramedic for more than 10 years before shifting to the ER.

“My purpose and value are found when we’re able to be a part of someone’s worst day and improve it in some way,” says Cross. “It could be as simple as holding their hand, or as complex as getting them stabilized, comfortable and ready before transferring them to further care.”

For RN Boyd Jones, it’s the little things that make the job worthwhile.

“The thing I like the most is the instant gratification you get with patients,” he says. “When someone comes in with a complaint, we get to see them get better.”

“There aren’t enough hyperboles to describe how important nurses are to the care we deliver together – critical, central, paramount, indispensable,” says Dr. VanGundy. “I can’t walk without legs, I can’t play the guitar without my hands, and we can’t provide amazing care without each other.”

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