For decades, May has been the designated time of year to celebrate nurses and their integral role in our nation’s healthcare system.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began last year, however, honoring our nation’s nurses has become profoundly more significant. 2020 was designated the Year of the Nurse to raise awareness of the contribution nurses make to the global workforce and to advocate for more support, better health, and greater gender equality in the profession, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
As a champion of these efforts, this year and onward the American Nurses Association (ANA) officially recognizes May as Nurses Appreciation Month and leads initiatives focused on self-care, recognition, professional development, and community engagement for registered nurses.
In honor of Nurses Appreciation Month, we spoke to Georgeanne Spalding, the daughter of our Edgewood Spring Creek resident Marie Strode, who expressed the highest appreciation for the nurses at her mother’s community. We’re grateful to share her testimony and her story.
Treated ‘Like a Queen’
Before 102-year-old Marie Strode moved into Edgewood Spring Creek in Eagle, ID, three years ago, she had lived in the same home for 78 years in McCall, a lakeside resort town in the mountains about an hour away from her current home.
Marie’s father was one of the first settlers of the town, establishing the first saloon, meat market, and hotel in the town in the early 1900s. She had a good childhood and spent much of her life picking huckleberries to make into jam, pies, dumplings, and other delicious desserts – a pastime she passed on to Georgeanne and her brother once they came along.
Even into her late 90s, Marie planned to live out her life in McCall. But one day in autumn of 2018, she decided to try out a short-term stay at Edgewood Spring Creek. She planned to stay for only two weeks, but the nurses “won her over real fast,” Georgeanne says.
“They treated her like a queen, and everyone was super nice to her,” she adds.
Over the years, two of our Edgewood Spring Creek (Eagle Island) nurses in particular – Lynsie Sanchez and Crystal Grover – have become close friends with the family. Georgeanne has Lynsie’s personal phone number so she can get regular updates about her mom and has even invited her to Thanksgiving in the past. Before the pandemic, the Spalding family would invite the nurses out to their resort house in McCall to go waterskiing.
“It was kind of our way of paying them back for everything they’ve done for my mom,” says Georgeanne. “They’re good mothers along with being professional ladies.”
I can tell that for them, nursing is not a job, but a life.
When the pandemic began last year, it was a stressful time for Georgeanne – especially with her mother’s age being in the triple digits. But being able to communicate with the nurses and coordinate with them to FaceTime with Marie offered some comfort.
“Lynsie would let my mom FaceTime with me any time she wanted to,” Georgeanne says. “Mom had a cell phone, but didn’t have one with FaceTime, so she appreciated that the nurses would help her in that respect.”
To keep her mind and her hands busy during lockdown, Marie crocheted, embroidered, knitted, and read the newspaper every day – even the ads. Although it was an extremely difficult year of isolation, constant testing, and ongoing anxiety, Georgeanne understood that all the nurses in the community “did what they had to do” to keep residents as safe as they could.
Fortunately, Marie and the rest of the seniors on her floor at Edgewood Eagle Creek never contracted COVID-19.
“They kept (mom) alive and well, and that was the main thing,” Georgeanne says. “I have nothing but kudos for these two gals because I have had close communication and interaction with them since the beginning.”
Once everyone was vaccinated this spring, the nursing staff, Georgeanne, and a group of close friends celebrated Marie’s 102nd birthday on April 13. It was a triumphant celebration for many reasons, and Georgeanne continues to be grateful for everything the nurses have done to care for her mom.
“She never got sick,” she says. “I’m proud of the whole community and am thankful to come out of (the pandemic) with a 102-year-old mother.”
Nurses: The Frontline of Senior Care
Nurses working in all health environments have all been the boots-on-the-ground contingent throughout the pandemic, including the many nurses on our team at Edgewood Healthcare.
As a senior living company, Edgewood Healthcare knows our nursing staff has made many sacrifices to keep our senior residents as safe and healthy as possible over the last year, especially since seniors were the most vulnerable to severe complications from COVID-19 until the vaccine rollout began in January.
They showed up early to their shifts to gear up in head-to-toe personal protective equipment. They got tested regularly. They quarantined when they were exposed or tested positive for COVID-19. They fielded questions and concerns from residents and family members. Before vaccinations began, many avoided going anywhere other than home and work, opting for curbside pick-up whenever possible.
These are only a few of the sacrifices our nurses have made, but even before the pandemic, nurses have been on the frontlines of senior care, dedicating their lives to a profession that is physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding. They experience the high of connecting with our residents every day, and the low of holding their hands when it’s their time to transition to spiritual life.
As trained professionals, our nurses view caring for others as not just a job, but a duty. This means they often put their own health and well-being on the back burner, which is why it’s more important than ever for all of us to express our gratitude and appreciation for the nurses in our lives as the outlook for the pandemic continues to improve in the United States.
Our company is proud of the bravery, tenacity, and resilience our nursing staff has shown over the last year and beyond. If you’d like to commemorate Nurses Appreciation Month with a message of gratitude for the nurses at your own or your loved one’s Edgewood community, contact us today and we will pass the message on to our team!