May 12, 2022 at 10:45am
Dane Lisser

Recognizing the Heart of Health Care

In today's world, becoming a nurse requires years of study and dedication. Nurses are recognized as highly specialized professionals with a wide range of skills and specialties that provide an important link between patients and doctors.

As workers who perform the most essential health care tasks, nurses serve as the first point of contact for most patients. National Nurses Week, celebrated May 6-12, honors the contributions and sacrifices of nurses and reminds us to thank the medical professionals who keep us healthy.

In recognition of National Nurses Week, a number of Millikin University School of Nursing graduates took time out of their busy schedules to share insight into their career choice to help make a difference in patients' lives.

Angela Thunder, Millikin Class of 2019, a registered nurse with HSHS St. Mary's Hospital in Decatur, Ill., says the job allows her to make a positive difference every day, particularly for patients who are having a difficult time. While studying at Millikin University, Thunder's mentor was Dr. Francis Oke.

"I like to see the difference I make in my patients' days," Thunder said. "Going into surgery is extremely scary. If I can guide someone through that time, it makes me happy as well."

Carmeka D. Coe-Honorable is a Millikin School of Nursing Class of 2009 graduate who currently works as a family nurse practitioner with HSHS Medical Group Family Medicine. She says her patients and coworkers at the Mt. Zion (Ill.) office are the best part of the job and noted that her biggest accomplishment in the field was getting into Millikin University.

"You will need to be a lifelong learner," Coe-Honorable said. "You will need to have empathy and compassion for the profession as well as your patients. Last but not least, you will need to have balance and have downtime to take care of your own health, both physical and mental well-being."

Holly Henderson, a Class of 2014 graduate, is an oncology registered nurse at Cancer Care Specialists of Illinois. The most rewarding aspect of her job is the opportunity it presents to build relationships with patients.

"I have always wanted to help and take care of others in need," said Henderson, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Millikin and has been a nurse for seven years.

Henderson aspires to be "that nurse that people will always remember because hopefully I helped make a difference," she said.