(Left to right) Nursing Advisory Committee Chair Gregg Muenster stands with keynote speaker Maria Wellisch, RN, B.B.A., LNFA, and School of Nursing Dean Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN.

Nurses, students, community members encouraged to preserve ‘spirit of nursing’

(Left to right) Nursing Advisory Committee Chair Gregg Muenster stands with keynote speaker Maria Wellisch, RN, B.B.A., LNFA, and School of Nursing Dean Eileen T. Breslin, Ph.D., RN, FAAN.

Although she has been a nurse for 42 years, it wasn’t until Maria Wellisch, RN, B.B.A., LNFA, experienced the compassionate care of nursing firsthand that she felt the immense pride of being a nurse.

Wellisch, vice president of corporate education for Morningside Ministries, was the keynote speaker at the Nursing Advisory Council (NAC) spring luncheon. The philanthropic arm of the School of Nursing, the NAC provides student scholarships, funds research and supports major projects, such as the recently opened Center for Simulation Innovation.

A member of the NAC, Wellisch said that a few years ago she and her husband received the phone call that parents dread – her teenage daughter had been in a terrible wreck.

“When I walked into the emergency room, I was in nurse mode. I asked all the technical questions about Jessica’s blood pressure and how many units of blood she’d had. Then, the ‘mom’ part of me stepped in for the six days that she was in a coma. The nurses were so patient with my repeated questions and concerns,” she said, and noticed the smallest ways to provide comfort.

“Jessica was so particular about her appearance and cleanliness. The nurses carefully washed her hands and fingernails in a basin,” she said. “They sang childhood songs with me to Jessica. And they were the ones who noticed that my younger daughter could not approach Jessica because of her appearance.” The nurses trimmed Jessica’s hair and rewrapped the turban so that she looked as though she had just washed her hair.

“That is the heart and spirit of nursing,” Wellisch said. “I never fully appreciated the impact we can have as nurses on our patients until then.”

To support the spirit of nursing through the NAC or to become a member, contact Gwen Notestine at 210-567-5313 or Notestine@uthscsa.edu.

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