From a mother and daughters graduating today to veterans in surgery and delivering babies, a group of Sanford Health Bemidji nurses attribute their choice of career to their mentors.
"We have students every day of the week," said Anita Norden, RN in labor, delivery and nursery.
Today is commencement day for Bemidji State University and Northwest Technical College. Norden noted that some of today's graduates will be the first call members who have completed the Bemidji State University Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Today is also the beginning of National Nurses Week.
Sisters Katelyn, 20, and Eliza Tinglestad, 18, will graduate today - Katelyn with a RN, going on for a BSN, and Eliza graduating with a Licensed Practical Nursing Degree going on for an RN. The sisters went to NTC for a post-secondary education option during their high school junior and senior years.
"I was the clinic office when these beautiful girls were born," said Maria Stay, RN in clinical surgery.
The full circle arrived when Katelyn, a nurse's aide at Neilson Place, began working with Stay's mother, Virginia Robare.
Katelyn and Eliza's mother, Annette Tinglestad will also graduate today with an LPN Degree.
"I followed them," Annette said of her daughters. "We did a role reversal."
Annette had taught science and health at Heartland Christian Academy and for the Bemidji School District, so nursing is a second career for her.
She said when she was a new mother Stay helped her know how to deal with her daughters' health care. That connection brought her into the nursing profession.
"I just hope I can be what Maria was to me for other families," Annette said, adding that her official mentor is Sherry Russell, RN on the Sanford medical/surgical floor.
Annette said she has learned as much by watching Russell work with patients as she has more formally. For example, she said Russell was tending a hospice patient who was unconscious. Nevertheless, Russell spoke informing the patient about every treatment.
"To see it in action and see the nurse acting out on that action, it isn't something you learn from a textbook," Annette said.
Nursing is also a second career for Russell. She said she had been a social worker, but she went into nursing because how well nurses treated her father and her whole family when he was ill.
Bethany Salmonson said nursing is an adventure. "It's never boring," she said. "You definitely learn something new every day here."
She is an RN who works in the Acute Rehab Unite and is an instructor at NWT. She said she plans to continue her career with Mercy Ships or Doctors Without Borders to reach out to people in distressed areas of the world.
Norden said a nurse also inspired her to become a nurse. She said meets people she can tell, "I remember when you were born."
Maria said she has had similar experiences.
"I met someone in Pamida, and she said, 'You took care of me when I had my baby," she said. "I said, 'Oh gosh, I haven't worked in OB in 30 years.' She said, 'Oh, yes. He's 30.'"