Nurses are an essential part of nearly every aspect of healthcare.

It takes dedication and compassion to be a nurse. You hear many of the same reasons why our SIH Nurses got into the field.

“I couldn't think of doing anything else.”

“…it’s just very, very fulfilling.”

“…we want to be able to help people.”

SIH Herrin Hospital RN Kim Barwick got into nursing after taking a CAN class in high school. At the time she was trying to get out of her other classes, but it lit a fire inside her.

Her favorite part of the job? “Making people smile. They come in scared and in pain and I do what I can to make them smile and feel better. I seriously believe laughter is the best medicine,” Barwick said.

Continuing to work through the pandemic has been tough for nurses as well. “Horrifying. I worked the days the tornado went through Marion and when the inland hurricane hit and this pandemic scared me a lot more than those did. You never knew what to expect…” Barwick said.

All of our nurses have different motivations and backstories.

“Why I became a nurse kind of starts way back in kindergarten. I have family members that were nurses. I spent a summer with my aunt who was a nurse. And at that time, I didn't really quite understand. I just knew my aunt is a nurse, and that seems really cool,” said PCU Nurse Brandi Doerflein.

“So, I know it sounds a little cliche, but that is kind of why I went into nursing was to be able to make a difference in people's lives. I also come from a family of nurses. My grandma was a nurse, my mom's a nurse, I'm a nurse, and it makes me really proud that my daughter is currently in her second year of a BSN program at SIU-C,” said Heather Julian.

“…reason I became a nurse was a long time ago. 29 years ago. I had a premature baby, and I was at Carbondale hospital, all those years ago, and the nurses there helped me so much with my preemie baby. Didn't know what I was doing, and I ended up changing my major and going back to college for nursing, as I was going originally for accounting,” said SIH Herrin Hospital Nurse Heather Surprenant.

To learn more about what inspires our nurses and keeps them going check out the video inside this story.