South's Greatest Nurses 2015

April Downing, Nurse at Memorial University Medical Center

“Nursing isn’t about something that someone else can do for you to make your job easier. It’s the most challenging of days that molds you into the nurse and person you become in the end. Every situation happens for a reason and gives you those life experiences that not every person is fortunate to be exposed to.  I help (along with an amazing team of nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians, and other staff) take care of some of the sickest newborn infants and there are a million decisions that have to be made in a matter of moments. Even on the saddest, or strenuous of days, I still feel fortunate to be given the opportunity to do what I do.”



Brenda Burns: A Nurse for 34 years at Candler Hospital in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

“I love the personal challenge of giving the best nursing care to my smallest patients and their families during my shift. The smile on the parents face when they bring their baby home is all the reward I need.”


“The one thing that a relative can do is to make my job easier is to participate as much as possible in their sick/preterm baby's care.  This helps lessen their frustration and helplessness they sometimes feel.”


“Nursery nurses know whenever there is a full moon, there will be a lot of mom's in labor the next day. It never fails that we will be in for a wild ride delivering newborns.”


“The most joy I have in my life is interacting with my 16 month old grandson Logan.

I treasure watching him growing up month by month.”



Jessica Smith: A Family Nurse Practitioner for 9 years at Vidalia Children’s Center, cancer survivor, and on her way to receiving her doctorate in nursing.

Nursing is a career in which the learning never stops as this job is diverse, ever-challenging, and ever-changing. I believe that this is the most rewarding profession and I am proud of my nursing career.”


“Being a nurse fulfills my need to help better a person’s situation. Which may be only holding a hand and crying with them. Then there are days where you know that you really made a difference in a person or family’s life”


[On her favorite nursing anecdote] “I was interviewing an elderly man who was being admitted to my hospital floor. I finally got to the cardiovascular conditions and asked him if he had angina. He replied "Why no! That is a female part!!!” Yes that really happened.”



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