When nurses for the St. Francis Home Care Services showed up for work, they were greeted by stars.
Stars hanging from helium balloons that dotted the ceiling of the small Lihu‘e office on Elua Street. Each of the stars had a nurse’s name penned on it, leading the way to a room filled with light refreshments, a potted plant and a gift bag.
Dardanelle Kaauwai, of the St. Francis Home Care office, said the celebration acknowledged the efforts put forth by the staff of six nurses who go out into the community.
Beyond the National Nurses Day celebration though, observed yesterday, Kaauwai said their celebration had another edge to it.
Petra Oune, one of the St. Francis nurses, had just completed her Certified Nurse Assistant training so part of the celebration was to acknowledge that achievement.
“She is already certified,” Kaauwai said. “But she took it upon herself to take the course again as a refresher, as well as be brought up to date on everything that’s taken place in the field. She did this of her own volition.”
According to the Nursing World Web site, National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and runs through May 12, coinciding with Florence Nightingale’s birthday.
In 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, and in 2003, the Wednesday within National Nurses Week was designated as National School Nurse Day. In 1996, the American Nurses Association initiated “National Registered Nurses Recognition Day” on May 6 for their tireless commitment 365 days a year.
“This is nurses’ week, and usually there are celebrations in the middle,” Kaauwai said. “So we thought we would have a double celebration — one for our nurses, and one for Petra’s accomplishment.”
Kaauwai said she has six nurses on staff for the Kaua‘i office of St. Francis Home Care Services. Rebecca Mumley has been with the establishment for at least 24 years, making her the most senior nurse.
“These nurses not only deal with the medical aspects of home care, they also work in the human aspect of care,” Kaauwai said, illustrating the point by telling of a nurse who went so far as to work with an airline to learn how to transfer a patient from a wheelchair to the airline seat.
“Patients have many different goals that drive their recovery to functionality,” Kaauwai said. “In this case, it was an elderly person who was determined to travel to O‘ahu to attend a grandchild’s graduation.”
Kaauwai said nurses assist patients to return to a functional level by coordinating with physicians and working with the patient’s family.
This could include calling in social workers to assist in the family situation during recovery.
Additionally, St. Francis nurses assist caregivers in caring for the elderly with the aim of allowing elders to live a full life with their families.
St. Francis nurses also can provide physical therapy services to assist a patient with mobility while other capabilities include: working with patients in occupational therapy, and assisting patients with daily tasks like hair brushing.
“These nurses are our stars,” Kaauwai said. “They deserve to be celebrated for all they do.”