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Nurse shares how pandemic reinforced her love of the job

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 10:28 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kate Tingley’s mom, dad and aunt all were nurses, so the registered nurse who works at Stormont Vail in Topeka says she was naturally drawn to the field.

“It’s in my blood,” she said. “I love to help people and my family has raised me to love to help people. I really connect with people. I connect with my patients. I connect with my co-workers. We operate as such a strong...almost like a family. We’re just such a strong team.”

In five years as an LPN and five more as an RN, she’s learned the job often becomes personal. Tingley says that’s been especially true the past two years, during the COVID pandemic.

“I knew that it was about science and taking care of people, but I didn’t realize the emotional burden that you take on for these patients,” she said. “With COVID, family members that can’t be at the bed side with their loved ones as they are declining or not doing well - that’s been really tough.”

Still, she said, she’s never second-guessed her career, or where it’s put her.

“I was raised with the idea that you lift where you stand. So I feel like that’s one less person, if I were to leave the bedside, that’s one less person to lift and to carry the community,” Tingley said.

While tragedy and loss are part of the job, she says, her faith helps her find light - and makes the victories that much sweeter.

“Even the smallest moments that you connect with patients and you connect with families really just light you up and make it completely worth it,” she said.

Nurses make up the largest portion of America’s health care profession, with nearly five-and-a-half million nurses across the various certifications of the profession.

The U.S. observed National Nurses Week from May 6 to May 12 in 2022.

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