East Texas nurses share what job means to them during appreciation week

Updated: May. 6, 2021 at 11:11 PM CDT
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(KTRE) - Thursday marked National Nurses Day. Many nurses have been on the frontlines and dealt with a year of stress and long hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but many people are showing them appreciation.

Like many healthcare workers, nurses are one of the pillars of any hospital.

“Helping people is the main goal,” registered nurse Kristi King said. “I think this is God-driven work. I think He puts certain positions to help them move forward. I think that’s what we continue to do.”

Continued work even during the COVID-19 pandemic. When it hit last year, registered nurse Elvis Maddox was finishing up his last semester before entering the nursing profession.

“We were still unaware about what was going to go on,” he said. “We were very uncertain.”

Both King, who works at CHI St. Luke’s Health Memorial Hospital in Lufkin, and Maddox, who works at Nacogdoches Medical Center, worked on COVID wings.

“I’m not going to lie, it was scary going into something that we were so unsure of,” King said. “But the patients were wonderful. It was great to get to be in there to sit down and be able to talk to someone who wasn’t really having much other human contact.” (King)

For their effort not just in the past 12 months but every day and every year, people are showing their appreciation.

We’ve had sidewalk art, signs made, food delivered,” King said. “People will stop and thank you and it is very humbling because this is our job this is what we do every day. You don’t think of yourself doing anything spectacular. You’re working to help.”

“I don’t consider myself a hero, but I think there are so many heroes up here,” Maddox said. “I think us working together as a team, I think we are one big hero. And I think everyone should be appreciated.

“In recent months, we have had fewer patients in our COVID ward which is very good,” King said. “I think with the vaccine, the length of time and the more knowledge that we have gained to treat people has really pushed us to a better place.”

“It’s been a tough journey to say the least, but it’s been very rewarding,” Maddox said. “It’s very unfortunate when people have to be admitted and isolated on the COVID unit. But I just want to thank the great nurses and staff, housekeeping and everyone that works so close to the patients. Hopefully we can continue this do the best we can with COVID and go from there.”

Thursday also kicks off National Nurses Week, which begins each year on May 6th and ends on Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12th.

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