Monday, Oct. 28 was a tragic day. With the senseless shootings at the University of Arizona in Tucson, my profession lost three of its finest, and I lost a true friend.
I first met Barbara Monroe in the early 1990’s. I was doing my student teaching in nursing at ASU, and Barbara and I were both taking a course in curriculum design.
Barb had a strong, enthusiastic personality and a true passion for the nursing profession. She had an unwavering vision for guiding the next generation of nurses.
Barb was a skilled mentor to her students, and she would have gone to any length to help one who was struggling.
On the last day of her life, Barb wore a Halloween costume to class. She dressed in a hospital gown with a large plastic derriere protruding from the back. It was just like Barb to use humor to diffuse the tension of a midterm exam in critical care.
In death, Barbara and my other colleagues received recognition for the things they did every day of their professional lives, things that would have gone unknown and unrecognized by the world.
This is what nurses do every single day.
Nurses use highly-specialized knowledge and skills. Their work hours are long and physically tiring.
Nurses must make life and death decisions quickly, and they have to be right. They have to keep cool in chaotic situations.
Every day, nurses deal almost exclusively with people who are at their worst, facing the greatest crises of their lives. Nurses use their knowledge, intuition, judgment, decision-making and communication skills to keep you alive, long after the doctor has gone home and the ambulance has gone back to the station. Even though our paychecks will never be confused with those of a hospital administrator, most nurses, including this one, wouldn’t do anything else.
It is almost impossible to comprehend the senseless deaths of my colleagues. These women were outstanding clinicians, scholars, professors and mentors.
Their loss has diminished my profession and left a tremendous void.
Because of their work, however, patients can roll into a hospital anywhere, including Payson Regional Medical Center, and nurses will be there, using all of their knowledge, skills and resources to bring care and healing.
We will continue the work and vision of these women, furthering excellence in the profession we love. My friend Barbara would have wanted this.
JeanAnn Schwark, RN, MS, FNP, Payson