Too Good to Be True: Inspiring Real Life Nursing Stories

The word inspire in a heart

Somewhere there must be a statistic of just how many heroic things nurses do every minute of every day. There seems to be no end to the level of generosity and compassion that nurses show both to their patients and complete strangers alike. We love to share these stories because they often fly under the radar. We hope you love them as much as we do.

Florence “See See” Rigney’s 7-Decade Long Career

91-year old Florence (please, though, do call her See See) is, according to the local news in Tacoma, WA, the oldest practicing nurse in America. At 91, she’s been nursing since the second World War, and shows no signs of slowing. When she first started working in the pediatric ward, her staff had just started using this miraculous treatment for infections, called penicillin. She has survived two husbands and countless other medical advances. If See See isn’t an inspiration, we can’t possibly think of what is.

Abigail Bamber: Real Life, Actual Hero

In May of 2016, Abigail was a regular off-duty nurse in her native Bristol, UK, driving home from a day of shopping and errands when she spotted a man stumbling near her car on the road. As she and her friend drove closer, she saw he was bleeding. At that moment, in her own words, she “just went into nurse mode.” She and her friend stopped the car and called for assistance as Bamber started administering CPR until help arrived. A video taken of her saving the man’s life went viral. On the entire experience, and when asked if she saw herself as a hero, she had this to say:

“I think most nurses go into nursing because it is a vocation — not a job.”  We couldn’t have said it any better. (Also, Abigail, you’re totally a hero. Just sayin’.)

Brady Smith: Nurse and Cancer Survivor

Nursing School is hard enough for most people. When Brady Smith was working her rotations and finishing up her coursework earlier this year at the University of Kentucky, she got news that most women dread. She had stage-2 breast cancer. Her advisors and teachers assured her that they would hold her spot indefinitely while she sought treatment. Instead, she plowed ahead with her clinical and classroom hours while she was undergoing 12 weeks of chemotherapy, recovering from a double mastectomy, and grueling radiation treatment. If that wasn’t enough…well, it wasn’t for Smith. She’s planning on running the breast cancer awareness race as a survivor next year. The only words that describe a spirit like that are these: force of nature. Keep running, Brady. You’ll probably catch up with See See’s career sooner than you think.

Diane Carlson Evans: Fearless Founder

Diane was only 21 when she was sent to Vietnam to serve in the war as a nurse in the late 1960s. She saw what were likely some pretty traumatizing sites in the burn and surgical units while she was stationed in Pleiku and Vung Tau. When she got home, she realized that women who served, some 265,000 of them, weren’t getting the same recognition as their male counterparts. Because she’s amazing, she did something that almost no women, in or out of the field, were doing at that time: she started a foundation. In 1984, she founded the Vietnam Women’s Memorial to “promote the healing of Vietnam women veterans through the placement of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial on the grounds of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.” In 1993, her goal became a reality when the memorial was officially dedicated. If you were ever wondering what a life of service looks like…

Trevor Clay: Organizer, Politician, Nurse

Clay is a bit of a household name in his native Britain. As the General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing in 1982, he worked with the British government to increase nursing salaries, rallying his political might to ensure they earned a fair living wage. During his time there, the College became the fastest-growing trade union in the country (second only to the Trades Union Congress). When he retired, there were a staggering 285,000 members. He was a powerful and sought-after spokesperson for his profession, appearing frequently on national radio and becoming the national face of nursing. A debilitating case of emphysema forced his early retirement, and, unfortunately, early death in 1994. Regarding his position of great influence upon taking over the College, he said, the day before taking on the role that defined his legacy:

“I passionately believe in nursing…I feel as much a nurse now as when I started my training. Nursing has shaped my life.”  He also shaped a much more financially stable future for his members and fellow nurses during his lifetime.

The moment you start your LVN career, no matter what kind of standards you set for yourself, we know you will do heroic things because it’s part of the job. Welcome to the calling. Let us know how we can help you select the right LVN program in California for you.

Photo Credit: “To be inspired” by A Squared Photography is licensed under CC BY 2.0


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