National Nurse Week is a celebration that takes place annually from May 6 to May 12. Despite the fact that it is called a National Nurse Week, it is a world-wide celebration that ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthdate. Florence was widely recognized as the founder of modern day nursing.
Out of its many great nurses, Missouri Baptist Sullivan Hospital selects one to highlight during the celebration. This year, Rhonda Wood, RN, Surgical Services Supervisor is being recognized.
Almost 39 years ago, Rhonda began her career as a nurse at MBSH. She started as a nurse aid on the Medical Surgical floor and loved it. She also worked as an EMT on the ambulance for a short time before going to LPN School. After graduation, she worked on the Medical Surgical floor for 2-years before transferring to Labor-Delivery. She worked there 10 years then returned to school to become a Registered Nurse. She stayed one more year in Labor-Delivery as a RN before transferring to Surgery in 1993. She has worked in the Operating Room ever since, primarily as a Staff Nurse, a short time as Interim OR Manager, to her current position as a Surgical Services Supervisor.
In looking back on her career, she expressed how thankful and truly blessed she was to be a nurse. She said “I can celebrate my years of nursing knowing I did make a difference. I have formed bonds with our patients and their families, supporting them when they are most vulnerable. Being their advocate, giving them the best care possible and above all, keeping them safe.” She also commented on the bonds developed among the staff, “My coworkers have become my best friends and those ties will never be broken.”
Her advice to a new graduate nurse is to gain all the experience you can. “Work on a medical surgical floor or become a float nurse. Find a good mentor to watch and learn from. If you make a mistake, which you will, own up to it and learn from it.” Rhonda has always been a team player and said “Get to know your fellow staff members. They will be your support system.” She added “Remember, there is no “I” in TEAM.”
In order to make it for the long haul in nursing, she recommended “Learn to welcome change, it is not always easy but in the long run, you will be glad you did. Nursing is a career that will be rewarding and amazing.” She concluded by saying “Smile and Buckle-up. Keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times – and enjoy the ride!!”
“We are extremely pleased to have Rhonda on our Surgery Team,” remarked Laura Lewis, Operating Room Nurse Manager. “She has a positive, can-do attitude, and always promotes team work among our staff.”