BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Nurses across the country are the heartbeat of hospitals, especially during the pandemic when hospitals were flooded with COVID patients and their families in what was a trying time for so many people.
As part of Nurses Appreciation Week, 23ABC wanted to make sure we took a moment to thank and recognize nurses right here in our community for their hard work, compassion, and dedication to their job.
23ABC caught up with one local nurse, who says the pandemic made him realize even more how important his job is.
"Hopefully there will be a time when the pandemic is over and done with and ten years from now, twenty years from now when I'm asked 'hey what did you do during that pandemic of 2020?' I'll be able to say I went to work. I helped people and made a difference in the community,” said Ryan Greenleaf, the Charge Nurse at Kaiser Permanente.
Being a charge nurse comes with a lot of responsibility and Ryan Greenleaf says one of the main goals during the pandemic was letting the nurses he leads know that he was always there for them because he knew the nurses that stand beside him share the same passion for the profession as he does.
"I love my profession. That's where my passion is. I love being a nurse. it's not my job it's who I am."
Greenleaf's passion comes from his grandmother who was a nurse practitioner. Not only has he been a nurse for a decade, but his wife and their daughter are studying to follow in his footsteps.
"I'm very proud of my Abigail."
Greenleaf also says that all the nurses he's worked alongside have inspired him.
"The actions of them and what they're doing- it makes me proud to be a nurse."
And the advice he has for future nurses is to follow your heart and you'll probably find out that your community cares for you as much as you do for them.
"One of the reasons why I love Bakersfield is no matter how big it gets there's still that strong sense of community. And during the pandemic, whether we had the flyovers overhead, we had people just driving by honking their horns like a parade, and a salute to health care workers, at the end of the day no matter how rough that day was or how dark it was this community appreciates what we're doing."