A young girl named Hilda sits by her Grandmother’s bedside and starts thinking this is where she wants to be. She wants to be in a hospital and help sick people get better.
Hilda Edwards believes that was the day God put the dream to be a nurse into her heart. From that day forward, nursing became her calling.
Knowing that nursing was her calling helped her while in school, along with knowing that she could overcome any obstacles through hard work. When things got difficult, she recalled, “All I could think about was helping people.” It was clear that nothing would stop her from becoming the nurse she was meant to be.
After completing her nursing degree in 1979, she worked in various departments as a Registered Nurse, including the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU), Obstetric and Gynecology, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Psychiatric, and Pediatrics.
Those experiences provided her with “an insurmountable amount of knowledge about different things.” Furthermore, she also learned a lot from the patients. Her concentration, however, was in pediatrics. She missed pediatrics and talked about how she worked with some good nurses and loved her job. Regardless of where she worked, she focused on the patients and their families and did her best.
Edwards believes that nursing is a calling and more than just a job. She explains, “This job takes a lot of heart and soul ... if you’re in it for the money, you might as well get out. You have to have a heart for people.” She also emphasizes the importance of going into nursing to be of service and help people. “We are our brother’s keeper. You have to be willing to give of yourself,” she says. She would constantly go that extra mile for the patient and their family that put their trust in her because they knew she would take good care of their child.
Throughout her career, she has witnessed firsthand the toll that nursing can take on an individual. She has seen good nurses she worked with leave because of burnout. Burnout is a concern because it could lead to decreased job satisfaction and reduced quality of care that a nurse may provide to their patients. Her advice for avoiding burnout is to “know where your boundaries are.”
There were many times while Edwards was working when there was no time for breaks for the nurses because of how busty and hectic it could be. “Working on the floor, you really learn teamwork,” she says.
Furthermore, she believes that nurses need some emotional support because the job can be taxing on the heart. At times being understaffed plus long hours, combined with the emotional toll of caring for sick patients, is overwhelming.
While working in pediatrics, she recalls, “I sat on the bed many nights and cried.” Even though time has passed, she still remembers the patients who got better and those who, sadly, did not. However, she would do it all again because she believes nursing is her calling.
Despite the challenges that come with the nursing profession, Edwards says that the rewards outweigh the difficulties. “It’s just a joy you get out of making people feel better ... It’s the best thing, I’ve met a lot of patients and mothers, fathers and they still remember me. It makes my heart feel happy and warm,” she says.
Edwards believes that nurses deserve more pay and more respect. “Nurses are the eyes and ears of doctors,” she says. Further, nurses are also educators for patients and their loved ones. They provide instructions for patients on what to expect and how to take care of themselves once they return home. Nurses wear many hats: healers, nurturers, management, educators, and more.
Currently, Edwards is working in case management and still helping people and being of service.
Registered Nurse Hilda Edwards is an example of the dedication and passion nurses bring to their work daily. Her commitment to caring for her patients, going that extra mile, and doing her best is a reminder of what it truly means to be a healthcare professional.
“It’s a very rewarding occupation. I would not have changed it for the world,” she said. “I’ve been rewarded in many ways by being a nurse. Just by helping other people.”