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Nurses Week: Profession offers diverse services

Pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale was born May 12, 1820, and Nurses Week is celebrated during her birthday week each May.

Sarah Tarutis, a doctor of nursing and psychiatric nurse practitioner, and David Reichert, R.N. in the North Country Regional Hospital Intensive Care Unit, described the variety of services nurses offer.

"I assess and diagnose and treat mental illness," said Tarutis.

She consults with North Country Health Services and also is in private practice.

"That's something advanced practice can do, hang my own shingle out," she said .

Reichert said he came to nursing after other careers, including working for a St. Cloud, Minn., steel foundry.

"I went back to school six years ago and went into nursing at the NPL program at Northwest Tech," he said. "I had to go to Northland Community College in Thief River Falls for my R.N."

Since then Northwest Technical College and Bemidji State University have added registered nurse courses.

Reichert said his mother is a nurse, as is his wife, Julie, so he was familiar with the profession. However, he said men have been scarce in the profession.

As a doctor of nursing, Tarutis said she carries the title of doctor, but the philosophy on the nursing side is more toward "person-based" rather than "clinical-based" treatment.

"We're more whole-person based," she said.

Reichert said his specialty of critical care nursing treats everyone from pediatrics to advanced illnesses. He is also an Advanced Cardiac Life Support practitioner who be called for rapid response in any hospital department when an emergency occurs.

He said nursing offers hundreds of fields.

"The thing that's neat about nursing is you're not just working for a pay check," he said. "You're dealing with human lives. (In the ICU) you're dealing with the family as much or more as with the patient."

Tarutis agreed that nursing offers a diversity of specialties, but there are few mental health nursing providers.

"Our community should consider growing our own - send them back to school and let them come back and really serve their own community," she said.

To honor the nursing profession - in combination with National Hospital Week and Nursing Home Week - North Country Health Services will offer cholesterol screening Tuesday at a cost of $20. Those interested in the service should fast from 6 p.m. Monday night, but can drink water and take regular medications.