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National Nurses Week
May 7, 2014

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox In honor of National Nurses Week, we're taking a closer look at the important role nurses play in all of our lives.

"They're just all around wonderful people who are helpful, selfless people," Chris Bowers said.

If you've ever given birth, been through surgery or even had a quick checkup, you know how vital nurses are to the medical field.

"My dad's been in the hospital a few times, and they've taken such good care of him," Bowers said.

And as a first year medical student, Bowers said he appreciates the value of nurses even more.

"Nurses basically help me do everything I don't know how to do, like putting in IVs, central lines, that kind of thing," he said.

National Nurses Week began in honor of Florence Nightingale's birthday. She's known pioneer of "modern" nursing. These days, nurses are more and more skilled and certified in their respective areas and the learning process is ongoing.

Joy Pelfrey is VP of Nursing Services and Chief Nursing Officer for Cabell Huntington Hospital.

"Once you finish your formal education through the universities and colleges, you can continue your education and expertise," she said.

She said that includes testing for certification to prove your expertise in your specific area.

Pelfrey said becoming a nurse was a lifelong dream of hers.

"It's pretty spectacular when you start studying the human body and how it's put together," she said.

She said the best part of being a nurse, to her, is building patient relationships.

"Knowing you've made a difference and then recognizing that that person's made a difference in you as well," she said.

Nurses see things come full circle, from labor and delivery to end of life care.

"Oftentimes, we're the ones sitting there at their bedside as they're taking their last breath, and we're providing comfort to the patient as this process is happening and comfort to the family," Pelfrey said.

So if you have a special nurse in your life... now's the time to show your appreciation!

CHH hosted several appreciation events, including a big breakfast, for the more than 1,000 nurses on its staff this week.

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