Whether delivering care, driving innovation, evolving care delivery systems, or closing gaps in care disparities, nurses are critical to keep our nation healthy and thriving. To celebrate these amazing men and women and honor their contributions and sacrifices, National Nurses Week is celebrated annually between May 6-12, the birthday of renowned nurse Florence Nightingale.
Jaime Thiel has worked as a registered nurse at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) for three years, but she knew long before that which career she wanted to pursue.
She witnessed the compassionate care of nurses during a challenging time in her life. Her dad was diagnosed with lung cancer, despite never being a smoker.
“When I had my first child, my dad was in the same hospital at Anne Arundel Medical Center,” said Thiel, a Severna Park resident. “One of the nurses wheeled him over so he could meet his granddaughter. I was touched by that.”
Thiel spent time with the Red Cross before coming to UM BWMC. She currently works on the medical center’s fifth floor, helping patients who have cardiac issues.
“We get patients who have had serious heart attacks and we get patients with atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and we recently had someone who had a stroke after [getting] a peacemaker,” she said. “We might have someone with a heart rate of 180 [beats per minute], so we try to keep that down.”
No matter the patient’s condition, Thiel wants to make sure he or she feels comfort and support.
“I tell people, ‘This is my every day, but this is your worst day.’ So I want to do anything I can to be comforting during such a bad time,” she said.
As much as she enjoys the job, it can be stressful. Everyone needs an outlet and hers is exercise.
“For me, the big thing is working out,” she said. “I also have three kids, so even a quick run to decompress can help.”
Helping patients is rewarding too, and Thiel said plenty of people have shown their gratitude by sending cupcakes, trail mix, flowers and thank you cards to the staff at UM BWMC.
That feedback is heartwarming and validates her decision to become a nurse.
“I want to feel like I’m making a difference,” Thiel said.