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Inspiring, dedicated, caring: Honoring the nurses that have made an impact in Butte

Inspiring, dedicated, caring: Honoring the nurses that have made an impact in Butte

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How hard is a nurse's job?

How difficult is the physical labor, the mental fatigue of long hours, the cumulative effect of dealing with people's pain and illness, the ultimate emotional stress of losing patients?

Each of the nurses honored here made the decision, some time ago, knowing all of the above, to build a career out of helping their fellow humans at perhaps their lowest points — the times of crisis and pain and fear and recognition of their mortality.

Each of the nurses own different pieces of that calling. From pediatrics and school nursing to gerontology and at each stop in between, they make the human condition just a little better every day. Some days, a lot better.

And each of the nurses talked about the rewards the profession offers. They are not financial and they have nothing to do with fame or prestige. The rewards each mention are the gratitude of their patients (whether those patients can verbalize it or not);  the close relationships they build with their colleagues; and the knowledge that they have made a difficult situation better for each patient they care for.

All of the nurses are, in a word, inspiring.

Eight of our nine nurses were chosen by a panel that included Father Patrick Beretta; Karen Vandeveer, head of the nursing program at Montana Tech; and myself. The other was our popular vote winner (readers had the chance to vote online for their favorites.)

We are very happy to be able to share their stories with you, and we hope a little more knowledge about what they do helps everyone to understand that we owe them and their colleagues — some 1,441 of them in this newspaper's circulation area — more thanks than they will ever receive.

— David McCumber, Editor, The Montana Standard

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