Open Accessibility Menu

CCH nurses share stories for National Nurses Week

  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Felicia Messimer
CCH nurses share stories for National Nurses Week

Join Campbell County Health during National Nurses Week, May 6-12, as we celebrate the nurses throughout our organization.

National Nurses Week recognizes the contributions and commitments nurses make and all that they do to educate the public about the significant work they perform caring for others. Nurses practice diverse roles such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators, care coordinators, and policymakers. They help patients secure resources, obtain comprehensive care across many service areas, and develop healthy lifestyle practices to prevent sickness and diseases. Increasingly, nurses with advanced degrees, such as nurse practitioners, are providing primary care services and managing chronic illnesses.

This year, CCH decided to help you get to know 12 nurses throughout our organization by asking them the following questions:

  • Why did you choose nursing?
  • Who has been a primary influence in your nursing career?
  • How has nursing changed throughout your career?
  • What is the best part about nursing?
  • If someone asked you why they should pursue a nursing career what would you tell them?

Check out what some of our nurses had to say about their chosen profession.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Jari BachmannJari Bachman, RN, CCMH Emergency Department
Why did you choose nursing?

In 1986, I found myself at the age of 26 as a single parent of an 18 month old daughter, working two jobs and really not thinking that there were other choices in my life. I visited my younger sister who was studying to become a nurse. She asked me why I didn’t think about going to college—a simple question never asked by myself. Nursing offered a career in a short amount of time and small amount of expense. Though not the ideal reasons for becoming a nurse it finally occurred to me that in order to provide a better life for my daughter and myself I needed to do something!

I remember my first day of anatomy and physiology class. Terms like “anterior” and “posterior” were overwhelming at the time! I thought this was a mistake—I can’t do this. But as each day and class went by my confidence grew slowly. Years have passed and the field of nursing has offered many challenges and rewards. I have never regretted my decision to become a nurse.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Valarie CookValarie Cook, RN, Heptner Cancer Center
Who has been a primary influence in your nursing career?

I was 18 years old and in a dark place in my life. As I sat there in the hospital, my nurse came into my room. She was very rude to me and had no compassion or care for my feelings, or how much I was hurting inside. Instead, she was concerned about asking me why I was where I was at and what I was going to do about it. I felt depressed, anxious, and upset that this nurse treated me like I didn't matter and that my circumstances were more important than the true me.

The next day, still very upset at that nurse, I had a different nurse take care of me. She was very compassionate, didn't judge me, and took every measure to make sure that I was comfortable. I loved her from the moment she came in my room because she truly cared about me and wanted what was best for me. In the midst of heartache, she was a ray of hope. Karen was my nurse more than once, and every time, despite the fact that I was in the hospital because I chose to be not because I had to be, she cared for me and loved me through it. From the moment I met Karen, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse and dedicate my life to caring for others the way Karen cared for me.

Years later in nursing school, Karen was my mentor nurse, and I was able to remind her of my situation and thank her for making a difference in my life and helping change to direction of my life. It goes to remind us all, that no matter what, you can make a difference in the life of a patient for the better or for the worse. I hope that we all chose to make it for the better and to offer hope to those we come into contact with. It helped save my life and I am reminded everyday of why I love being a nurse because I know what it feels like to be the patient.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Tom GalvinTom Galvin, RN, Behavioral Health Services
If someone asked you why they should pursue a nursing career what would you tell them?

First it would be really important to like working with people and then added to this having an interest in working with patients who have medical needs. If these were absent, nursing would not be a good choice. What I appreciate about nursing is the variety of work settings that are available. There are opportunities in prisons, jails, schools, nursing homes, clinics, hospitals, group homes, home health, insurance companies, government (Medicare and Medicaid) etc. Just within CCH, there are numerous departments with differing nursing opportunities. Added to this there are management, supervisory, administrative, and nurse practitioner opportunities. Nursing offers an almost infinite variety of career paths to satisfy whatever interest a person may have. Added to this, it is a career with a strong demand, making it possible to find employment in almost any location.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Rachelle GingerichRachelle Gingerich, RN, Emergency Department
What is the best part about nursing?

Nurses make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis. I believe nursing chose me as my path for life. I was drawn to nursing, perhaps for the wrong reasons—the flexible schedule and the stable income. I was searching for a career that would allow me to not only provide for my family, but give me time to spend with them as well. I ended up falling in love with the profession. I've been given the opportunity to meet many different people and to assist others in their own journeys. I have shared milestones, tears, words of encouragement, and compassion with many people over the years. I get to be a voice and advocate for patients in their time of need.

CCH Nurses week 2017 Thea GusemanThea Guseman, RN, Home Health and Hospice
Who has been a primary influence in your nursing career?

I have had many great nurses touch my life and inspire me in my career in nursing. My grandmother was an Gynecology/Obstetrics nurse and NOC house supervisor at Ivinson Memorial Hospital for 40+ years. My aunt has been a public health nurse, a school nurse, a nurse educator, and now the director of the Nursing program at Eastern Wyoming Community College in Douglas, Wyo. She also serves on the Wyoming State Board of Nursing. I was taught by a hospice nurse, when I was a caretaker for my Grandmother. I was taught by a public health nurse when I was pregnant, and a public health nurse for my new baby once we were home. I was taught by amazing nurse educators at Gillette College whose high expectations helped develop me into a nurse that strives for excellence. I have been guided by mentors who have shown me, by their example, what type of nurse to be – selfless, kind, compassionate, positive, an advocate, a healer. And I work with amazing nurses within Campbell County Health who put patients first and who truly exemplify the best there is in nursing.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Maureen HurleyMaureen Hurley, RN, Home Health and Hospice
Why did you choose nursing?

As far back as I can remember, I knew I was going to be a nurse. While a few of my sisters did what they could to avoid visiting people in a hospital setting, I always felt extremely comfortable. When my cousin’s very young daughter was diagnosed with a terminal illness, I always accompanied my mother on visiting her in the large pediatric cancer unit. I knew early on, my comfort level in these situations would drive me to be a nurse. All through my teens, I assisted my mother in caring for my grandmother who was bedbound and needed total care. Starting as a Candy Striper at 13, then a Nurse’s Aide at 16 and a phlebotomist at 19 years old, I eventually made it to completing my Registered Nurse (RN) degree.

Being a nurse is who I am, and I am so thankful for all the nurses and CNAs that have influenced me in my career.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Kayla KimballKyla Kimball, RN, CCMH Surgical Services
If someone asked you why they should pursue a nursing career what would you tell them?

As a nurse, you have so many opportunities. Your career may take you into research, critical care, teaching or a million other directions. As a nurse you always have options, nursing can be anything you want it to be.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Angie MasonAngie Mason, RN, CCMH Maternal Child
Why did you choose nursing/what is the best part of nursing?

As a high school student, I was able to volunteer as a candy striper in a large hospital in California. It was at this time that I knew I wanted to be a nurse. I saw the compassionate and caring way the nurses took care of their patients and I knew that I wanted to be in this career field without a doubt! I have been a registered nurse for about five years now and I LOVE every minute of it, even the stressful ones. As a nurse, I am always using my critical thinking skills and yet every shift, I am always learning something new. I enjoy working beside such amazing nurses and I am proud to be a part of the maternal child unit.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Anne RagaAnne Raga, RN, Nursing Administration
Why did you choose nursing/what is the best part of nursing?

My mother died when I was 7 years old, and was in and out of the hospital for two years before that. In those days, children under the age of 12 were not allowed in hospitals, so when we would visit, I would sit on the lawn and she would wave from the window. I decided then that I was going to be a nurse, and let little kids in to see their moms. The dream of being a nurse stayed with me. I was an aide in high school, and worked as an LPN for a few years before I was able to continue my education to be an RN, then obtain my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I have always loved being a nurse!

As nurses, we have the privilege of touching people in their most intimate moments, and I think those times and those people become part of who we are. People often ask nurses how we can do what we do. It is my calling—how can I not? Whether at the bedside, leading departments, or leading leaders, nursing is the hardest, and one of the best things I’ve ever done.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Lee SandersLee Sanders, RN, CCMH Surgical Services
What is the best part of nursing?

With all the changes throughout my career in nursing, it is still all about the patient. Connecting with the patient and providing physical and emotional care. If you think you would like taking care of people, helping them overcome their fears and to feel better you should pursue a career in nursing.

CCH Nurse Week 2017 Delora SchmidtDelora Schmidt, RN, House Supervisor
How has nursing changed throughout your career?

When I started nursing the patients and staff smoked in the hospital. The patients were allowed to smoke in their rooms. Also, we used all paper charting and medication carts that were not locked. One thing that I try to keep going is that every patient was offered a backrub and got a snack at night. This is something that is seldom seen anymore.

There will always be a need for nurses and it will always be a growing profession.

CCH Nurses Week 2017 Mary SwirzkiMary Swirzcki, RN, CCMH Maternal Child
Why did you choose Nursing?

I chose nursing because I decided I loved it after taking a certified nurse’s aide (CNA) class for a summer job. I worked on a surgical unit in a small hospital in South Dakota. I saw how hard the aides worked yet I could also see their limitations. It became apparent that the RN’s could do more. My mother was also a nurse, but in high school I didn’t want to be “just like my mom.” What a mistake, because I could not have had a better role model! Those who influenced me were all the nurses and personnel that I walked alongside for 45 years. As a career, nursing has so many options! It is a rewarding profession.

Campbell County Health is the most comprehensive healthcare provider in the State of Wyoming. We are dedicated to excellence every day—providing our nurses with great benefits and relocation packages, educational assistance, patientfocused resources, professional development, childcare, a vibrant community, and work/life balance. Check out our openings at

  • Category: Behavioral Health Services, Campbell County Memorial Hospital, Careers, Emergency Department, Employee Recognition, Cancer Treatment, Home Health & Hospice, Maternal Child, Nursing, Surgery