Written by Martha Schneider, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Director of Critical Care, 2 West and 5 West, RMH Healthcare. Martha has worked at RMH for the past 3 1/2 years.
My role model
I was inspired to be a nurse by my godmother, Mae Matsen. My “Aunt Mae” had become a nurse during World War II. She was smart, had a wonderful sense of humor and a strong faith. Even though she had six children of her own, she never stopped making me feel special. She remembered my birthday and she gave me a special nickname but most of all I always felt like she “had my back.”
One particular event proved to me, beyond a shadow of a doubt, she was truly remarkable and as a nurse, could do anything.
When I was about six-years-old, I was very sick with bilateral ear infections. As my mother and I sat patiently in the waiting room of the military dispensary, my Aunt Mae came out to see us. She recognized immediately that I was very ill and needed to be seen right away. Although she was only about 5 feet tall, she scooped me up in her arms, pressed me against her starched white uniform and carried me back into an exam room. She directed the physician to stop what he was doing and come see me right away. And he did!
The whole world then seemed to revolve around me as everyone on the care team worked to reduce my fever and ease my pain.
Her powerful presence could move mountains
At that moment I knew my godmother was truly all powerful, magical and actually able to move mountains because she was a wearing that white uniform and cap!
Later in life when I was working as a hospital administrator, I began to think again about the magic of my Aunt Mae. As a nurse, she was not only a healer, but could make things happen for patients that I knew I could not.
I decided at 41 years of age that Aunt Mae had it right and I became a nurse. No one was prouder of me than she was, when I graduated!
Making a difference
Now, many years later, I am nursing director. I try each and every day to make a difference in the lives of the patients and staff I work with. Some days I feel like I am able to move mountains, other days, not so much.
Through it all however, I continue to be inspired by a petite, strong-willed woman who inspired me to make a difference in the lives of people because she was a nurse.