A dozen nurses from Montefiore Medical Center have a place of honor in a new book about nurses and their dedication.
“The American Nurse” features 75 profiles of nurse from across the U.S., including Montefiore’s.
“I had a personal experience with a nurse that was really profound for me,” said Carolyn Jones, a New York City photojournalist and author. “She gave me chemo and I thought this would be an amazing way to thank her. I care a lot about health care in this country, and nurses are extraordinary people.”
She and her team chose the Bronx because it is one of the hungriest places in the U.S.
“The Bronx is the place where there is more hunger than any other place in the U.S.,” she said. “It’s where my education began. Every notion about what I was going to do and who I would be meeting flew out the window. It taught me about nurses, what they think and feel.”
Maureen Eisele, a Montefiore nurse for 30 years, said she was honored to be in the book.
“What we do every day is we make a difference in people’s lives, and its an honor to do that – and I get paid to do that,” Eisele said.
“I think part of the reason the book is important is because even though we all do different things, we all share a common denminator,” said Eisele, who works in pediatric dialysis with children with kidney disease.
Bronx native Brenden Hunt has been a nurse at Montefiore for 15 years grew up learning first hand what it means to take care of someone, as his mom developed multiple sclerosis.
“I didn’t start out to become a nurse,” Hunt said. “Being a male I just didn’t consider it. I had some friends in the field and they said it was great. I am grateful to those friends because it has been an excellend career for me. I also think I became a nurse because of my mom. Growing up and helping to take care of her I learned a lot about the body and how it works, it interested me.”
Jones said one of the stronger impressions she will take away from the project is experiencing end-of-life care.
“Before this assignment, I never spent much time thinking about it,” Jones said. “In this country we don’t talk about death. We don’t see people die and we don’t talk about it with any ease at all. We come into this world with an enormous fan fare and leave it kind of sad and alone. Every nurse is dealing with death and end of life issues, it is just part of their day. They have such a great understanding about what it means. It certainly has changed the way I want to leave this world.”
Jones said what she hopes to accomplish by publishing this book is informing the public of the important work that nurses do, which sometimes goes unnoticed.
“I hope that we as a public understand the value of listening to nurses,” Jones said. “That we can raise their voice to a level where people can hear them and let them help us fix the helath care system.
“I just want us to listen to them. They can help us change things. I also want to make people want to be nurses. I met women who decided they wanted to be nurses when they were 50 years old. It’s an enormous reward and I hope people are inspired by the book and choose to take that path.”
The American Nurse, published by Welcome Books. For more information, go to americannurseproject.com.