It’s no secret being a nurse these last 2 years through the pandemic has been a challenge. But at Akron Children’s, our nurses continue to rise to the occasion to meet the needs of our patients and families. Every day, they make a difference. In celebration of national Nurses Week May 6-12, we asked a few of our nurses to reflect on the pandemic and share how they keep their passion for their jobs, as well as their hopes for the future of nursing.
Sherry Mook, RN, a staff nurse in the Pre-operative/Post-anesthesia Care Unit at Akron Children’s Mahoning Valley, has been a pediatric nurse in the Youngstown area for 41 years. She has worked for the hospital since 2007.
Why do you stay in nursing? The challenges of the pandemic will exist whether I’m a nurse or not. Challenges exist everywhere. After 41 years of nursing, I still like being a pediatric nurse and I feel I still have something to offer. Children are amazing and being able to help them and their families is very rewarding. I have cared for children and their children and who knows, maybe even their grandchildren. Nursing has been such a part of my life that I think (even after I retire) some part of me will always be a nurse.
What effect has the COVID pandemic had on you as a practicing nurse? I am a nurse who is also a daughter, a mother and a grandmother. Often the questions families have, I also have. It has been challenging to keep up with the most current, accurate information about COVID and to be able to relay accurate answers and information to my patients’ families. As a result, I try to make decisions that are not only safe and good for my patients, but also for my family.
What self-care routine or steps have you taken since the pandemic to help you deal with stress and avoid burnout? Being a grandmother has certainly helped. It’s hard to feel stressed when I’m around my grandson! Staying connected to my family and close friends has always been my way of dealing with stress. The pandemic has limited some of the things I do and places I go, but the support of family and friends is something that cannot be replaced. Sometimes our connection has been by phone, text and we even had family Zoom meetings for a while. I am also part of a family that has 3 generations of nurses. My son and my nephews all married nurses. We have our own built in support system. The experiences, joys and tribulations we each have had allow us to support, understand and help each other.
What aspect of your job are you most passionate about? Caring for children and their families in the best way that I can.
Where do you see the future of nursing at Akron Children’s? Nursing at Akron Children’s can continue to thrive if nurses support each other. Nurses need to mentor other nurses. This doesn’t mean each nurse has to be a designated preceptor or mentor. In my department, I work with a group of nurses who come from varied nursing backgrounds. Everyone has something to share, and everyone can learn. I have precepted nurses and students who are now staff nurses, nurse managers and nurse practitioners. I think I learned as much from all of them as I taught them. Each nurse brings unique gifts, talents and qualities to his or her chosen path in nursing.