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Courier-Tribune Southeast Editor Kellie Houx describes nurses as a “gift.”

I have been thinking a lot about nurses in the past couple of weeks. I know the week extending from Thursday to Wednesday, May 6 to 12, is officially Nurses Week. This year, the 2021 theme was “Nurses: A Voice to Lead.” I heard a health care leader say, “This year, more than ever, we are looking to your voices and ideas for innovations and improvements to elevate nursing practice and define what it means to provide compassionate, connected care.”

One of the most innovative sets of nurses comes in the form of North Kansas City Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit nurses Lani Bamfield, Amanda Beeding and Mimi Ho, who were on board an April flight to Hawaii for vacation and ended up helping deliver a baby and provide care for mom and baby until the flight landed in Honolulu.

The three women recently discussed how their training took over during the flight and that they jumped into action, knowing what do to. They said they made decisions in the spur of the moment, but really the three were thinking five to 10 steps ahead to make sure the needs of the premature baby and his mother were met.

I had the opportunity to interview the three nurses. Bamfield and Ho were raised in St. Joseph and educated at Missouri Western State University. Beeding has worked the longest at the hospital and received her education at Avila University.

Having interviewed doctors and nurses before, I know that most procedures are followed up with a debriefing. The three NICU nurses and the doctor from Hawaii on the flight from Salt Lake City to Honolulu did just that. Embodying this year’s Nurses Week theme, the impromptu delivery team offered ideas for medical supplies that Delta may consider carrying on future flights.

I found this just incredible. I hope the airline listens to their advice. What would it take for an airline company to create a medical kit that includes some tools of the trade that may keep their passengers alive? I found it to be comforting that this team made those suggestions. I hope airlines pay heed.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, there are full emergency medical kits on board, along with an automatic emergency defibrillator. However, these three nurses definitely could have used equipment made for an infant. I believe those needs were shared and should be met.

What we like about nurses is their ability to care for patients. Even if the manner may seem a bit unorthodox, it is appreciated. Our family is currently dealing with a medical issue with my mother. The nurses who are caring for her are a gift to my family. They take my calls at 10 p.m. or 8 a.m.

While I appreciate the doctors, it’s the nurses who are there 24 hours a day. To that end, I am grateful. Here’s a quote I like and feel is appropriate: “What is the definition of a nurse? Just another word to describe a person strong enough to tolerate anything and soft enough to understand anyone.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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