For National Nurses Week, KATC is highlighting nurses throughout Acadiana.
Health care workers have been on the front lines of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and now two nurses from New Iberia Medical Center are sharing words of encouragement with their colleagues.
It's a job that comes with challenges, especially during a global pandemic, but the nurses we spoke with say nursing people back to health is a rewarding career.
"Nursing is a work of art. It's not just charting a patient, it's about caring and loving the patient and making sure you do right by them. That's the most important," said Kelley Perez, RN.
They make a living out of helping others live. It's a job these two began to pursue at a young age.
"It started off in high school. I had a great interest in biology and people always told me I was a people person so I said let's just put those two together," explained Thai Nguyen, RN.
"I did the A-Heck-Of-A-Nurse program in high school. I got to shadow and nurse and fell in love," added Perez.
That passion would lead them here to New Iberia Medical Center.
"I work in the operating room and I'm a circulator," Nguyen said. "Basically keep the flow of the operating room constantly going. If the surgeon needs an instrument, something drops, they need something quick and fast or if anesthesia needs blood. Right away I'm there to make sure everything is constant flow."
"I'm a critical care nurse," Perez explained. "Most likely will have someone on a ventilator or drips, checking ventilator, pumps making sure patient is safe."
They also faced challenges throughout their careers, especially during the pandemic.
"I think the biggest challenge was watching these patients face COVID. It was such a different type of disease and to see them struggle...I was glad I was there to help them physically and mentally," said Perez.
"You have to be able to de-stress yourself and go back to your happy place and just go back to work the next day and have fun with your second family," added Nguyen.
"Don't give up," Perez said. "Remember why you became a nurse because a nurse, because someone needs you out there. Being a nurse is special. I knew that my patient needed all of me so I made sure was always my best me."
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