ROCK HILL, S.C. — Mary Stevenson knew she had a passion for helping others at a young age. When she was in kindergarten she decided she wanted to be a nurse.
“I knew that I wanted to go into a field where I helped people,” Stevenson said. “At the age of 14, I actually started volunteering at my local hospital.”
A few years ago, her job as a nurse and personal life collided when she picked her mom up from dialysis.
"When I got there, she couldn't respond to me. Luckily one of the patients at the dialysis center was able to tell me the onset of her symptoms,” she said.
Her mom was having a stroke.
Stevenson quickly got her to the hospital, and she recovered. But then they pushed for new protocols to be put in place. Now the nurses and techs at that dialysis center undergo training to recognize the symptoms of a stroke.
"We wanted to make sure this didn't happen to another patient. If I hadn't picked up my mom, I'm not sure another person would've recognized what was going on,” Stevenson said.
Family is a pillar of her life; it's why keeping her patients away from theirs during the coronavirus pandemic is so difficult. She's always been compassionate, but becoming a mom made her care for patients differently.
"It made me realize, even though a patient may be 50, his 80-year-old mother can worry about him so it’s made me see things differently,” she said.
Stevenson is passing those skills on to other nurses as a teacher, but she is still striving for more as she works toward a master’s degree.
Mary Stevenson has been a nurse for 15 years. She is the Director of ortho-spine and oncology at Piedmont Medical Center.
Now, more than ever, nurses nationwide are also turning to the public for support amid the coronavirus pandemic. Nurses, along with other health workers, are on the front line, battling the deadly virus each day. Health officials say you can help show support and appreciation for nurses and other health professionals by slowing the spread of COVID-19. That includes staying home as much as you can, keeping a safe distance, washing your hands often, covering your cough, and other good hygiene habits.
WCNC Charlotte is recognizing nurses across the Carolinas on social with #WCNCNurses and we're showcasing nurses in each of our newscasts during National Nurses Week.