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National Nurses Week celebrates dedication, positive impact of nurses

Posted at 5:56 AM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 19:59:39-04

WACO, TX — The American Nurse Association has dedicated the week of May 6 - 12 as National Nurses Week.

Starting in 1993, this week is a time to recognize the dedication it takes being a nurse and the positive impact they make on so many.

This year's theme is 4 million reasons to celebrate as there are 4 million registered nurses in America.

Of those 4 million, Omar Garcia, he has been a nurse at Baylor Scott & White for 30 years. Wearing many hats in the world of nursing he has experience as a bedside, charge and hospice nurse.

"I try to take care of everybody as if they were a family member," Garcia said.

Garcia's current role is Nurse Supervisor, but his journey started after being in a car accident where he lost his brother. After the crash, he knew he wanted to make an impact on others' lives.

"My father was a physician's assistant, my mother was a school teacher and I had a lot of science credits in college and after the car accident with my brother it was a pathway that I went to," Garcia said.

Garcia thought nursing would always be a stepping stone, little did he know, he would be extraordinary in his field of work.

"He is amazing," Nurse Manager Jo-Ana Suchanski said. "My first impression of Omar is that he is a great person. He's very straight forward and really very very transparent."

Nurses are the backbone of hospital care, as they stand by their patient's side from the moment they enter the hospital to the time they leave.

"Nurses are at the front line, they are bedside leaders they are the ones that are connected both to their patients and their families," Suchanski said.

One thing Suchanski describes as bitter sweet is not knowing how well their patient is doing after the hospital stay. Although, they sometimes get a glimpse into the impact they made.

"Often times patients and families will come back and say here's some treats because we appreciate the work that you sis in helping me to heal," Suchanski said. "It feels amazing... we want to find so many opportunities to celebrate our team."

Leeann Omo had to take her son David Steele to the hospital because he was having problems breathing. Steele was diagnosed with autism at 18 months old and all his life he's been non-verbal. Now a 29 year-old, Omo still can find it hard to understand what he needs and feels.

"As a mamma I was upset because I didn't know what was wrong with my child and he's out of sorts with the autism," Omo said.

A worried mom who wasn't understanding what was going on, she was thankful when Garcia came into the room.

"I just listened to her and asked her what can we do to make things better," Garcia said.

Omo said Steele always had issues with an IV being put in his arm as he is unable to completely understand what's happening, it was a normal reaction from Steele. Although, Garcia found a way to distract Steele with other things so he wouldn't take his IV out.

"He was just so gentle with David and not judgmental and he didn't seem like he was put out by David's behavior," Omo said.

As a nurse you're taught that there isn't just a patient in the room, but the family as well. Garcia saw Omo in distress and not only did he care for Steele but Omo as well.

"Sometimes we say taking care of the patient is easy, but sometimes there's multiple family members and family dynamics that go on," Garcia said.

Anyone who feels they had more than outstanding care can nominate their nurse for a Daisy award. Garcia has been awarded one of these three times.

"I was just really speechless when they said it was me, that was just one other point where, okay God, this is where you want me this is where I'm going to be," Garcia said.

Omo nominated him February of 2018 after their visit, which gave Garcia his third award. The nomination she wrote now hangs in Garcia's office reminding him to always strive above and beyond.

"He just felt like the anchor in the middle of the storm," Omo said.

Not only is it important for a nurse to be dedicated to their patient, Garcia strives to make sure his staff is just as cared for.

"You know sometimes nurses can have rough days and if I can do anything to make that day a little better and little easier," Garcia said.

In honor of National Nurses Week, the American Nurses Association is hosting a free webinar to increase your professional presence beyond hospital walls and apply your nursing skills and knowledge to create a healthier population. The webinar will be held Wed. May 8, at 1 p.m. EDT. To sign up, visit their website.

Bubba's 33 in Waco is also having a promotion during National Nurse's week. From May 6 to May 11 if you bring in a deck of new playing cards you'll get a free 12-inch pizza. The deck of cards will be later donated to local organizations and schools.

Cinnabon stores are offering free cinnamon rolls all week long to nurses. Amazon has a list of free nursing books available on kindle, which are available for a limited time. Uniform Advantage is having a 50 percent off sale this week for all scrubs, nurses uniforms and more. There are also many free tests and and education classes for those looking to become a nurse or who already are.

For a list of the freebies above and more click here.