National Nurses’ Week begins Monday, May 6. Throughout the week, Lake Regional Health System will join hospitals nationwide in celebrating the nursing profession.

National Nurses’ Week begins Monday, May 6. Throughout the week, Lake Regional Health System will join hospitals nationwide in celebrating the nursing profession.

Few occupations offer a career as rewarding and varied as nursing. The infinite options allow nurses to select the setting, hours and educational level that best suits their interests and lifestyle. For example, an individual can become a licensed practical nurse in as few as 18 months or continue their education for an additional four years or more to become a nurse practitioner.

Nurses may specialize in a variety of areas, such as obstetrics or emergency medicine, or begin a career in nursing informatics, a job that combines nursing knowledge with computer programming and electronic documentation. The possibilities are nearly endless.

Throughout the week, the Lake Sun will feature a variety of nursing careers available at Lake Regional Health System. Today, we are profiling exceptional nurses who work in traditional bedside nursing roles.

Although these individuals work in different areas of the hospital, they love their career for the same reasons: they all enjoy caring for people, helping their community and working with other talented, caring nurses.

Julie Baxter, R.N., Emergency Department

LRHS Employee Since 2005

Shift: Nights (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.)

Nursing is Julie Baxter’s second career.

“My brother became terminally ill in my early 20s,” Baxter said. “I was so impressed with his hospice nurse that I knew nursing is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

Now, Baxter works in Lake Regional’s Emergency Department, which treats more than 37,000 patients annually.

“You need confidence, patience and skill to work in the ED,” Baxter says. “Every hour of every day is different. You never know what the next patient will need. But, I love the intensity and the crew I work with.”

In her free time, Baxter volunteers at her youngest daughter’s high school.

Her oldest daughter is a college freshman.

David Hellmer, R.N., Intensive Care Unit

LRHS Employee Since 2006

Shift: Days (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.)

David Hellmer has been in nursing for more than 30 years, including 27 years working in ICUs caring for patients recovering from cardio-thoracic surgery. Although he currently lives near Springfield, Mo., he doesn’t mind the commute to Lake Regional.

“This hospital makes it worth it in so many ways,” Hellmer said. “Lake Regional works very hard to equip its ICU with every technology nursing requires to care for our patients and maintain strong standards of care.”

On his days off, Hellmer, who has four children and five grandchildren, enjoys woodworking, dog training and motorcycling.

Brianne Hensley, R.N., Stepdown Unit

LRHS Employee Since 2005

Shift: Nights (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.)

Brianne Hensley’s interest in the health care field was sparked by watching medical shows on The Learning Channel. Now, she provides patient care and enjoys helping others when they need it most.

“Being caring, friendly and prompt to meet patient needs is important to be successful in this career,” Hensley said. “Continuing education, such as staying current with stroke and cardiac care, also is important.”

“Brianne is always there for her patients and her team,” said her manager Sharon Fishback, R.N. “The staff and patients comment on how kind, caring and respectful Brianne is.”

In her free time, Hensley enjoys running, four-wheeling and spending time with her husband and their two children.

Lynn Hofstetter, R.N., 2 East

LRHS Employee Since 2004

Shift: Nights (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.)

In addition to being compassionate, Lynn Hofstetter says it’s important for nurses to be skillful in organization, time management and flexibility. Perhaps that’s true for their families, as well.

“I have a wonderful husband, Gene, who puts up with my irregular schedule,” said Hofstetter, who works overnight three times per week on Lake Regional’s 2 East medical/surgical unit.

In addition to providing patient care, Hofstetter enjoys continually learning new things and sharing her nursing knowledge with others. “I like working with people and helping others,” she said.

“Lynn has great nursing skills and work ethic,” said Amy Knoernschild, R.N., 2 East assistant manager. “And, we appreciate that she serves as a mentor and preceptor for new nurses.”

Vivian McAdams R.N., Obstetrics

LRHS Employee Since 1984

Shift: Nights (7 p.m. – 7 a.m.)

All five girls in Vivian McAdams’ family — three before her and one after — became nurses.

“Since I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a nurse because of my sisters,” said McAdams, who has worked at Lake Regional for nearly 30 years. “Now, I want others to know that nursing is a wonderful and exciting profession that I’ve enjoyed for many years.

“We are so lucky to have a fine hospital in the area,” McAdams said. “Patients can receive care here in almost any specialty.”

McAdams, who works on the OB unit two nights per week, volunteers for the Medical Missions for Christ clinic. In her free time, she enjoys church activities, reading, gardening and spending time with family.

Jim McMahon, R.N., Outpatient

LRHS Employee Since 2000

Shift: Weekdays

Jim McMahon, a former Army Green Beret, helicopter pilot and retired Lt. Colonel, says it takes communication, technical proficiency and energy to be a nurse in Lake Regional’s Outpatient department.

“We provide the highest quality health care right here,” says McMahon, whose department consistently ranks in the top 1 percent nationally for patient satisfaction. “There’s no need for patients to travel a long distance.”

“Jim has excellent bedside, organizational and time management skills,” said Nurse Manager Janny Drover, R.N. “He is very perceptive and anticipate the needs of his patients so, so very well!”

McMahon also volunteers at COPE, a domestic violence shelter in Lebanon, Mo.