Mom's a nurse and so am IThere’s a special group of women working at Douglas County Hospital – they’re mothers and daughters working together and they’re all nurses. This week is National Nurses Week and it’s also nearly Mother’s Day – a wonderful opportunity to cast the spotlight on six mother-daughter pairs who have chosen the nursing profession.
By: Amy Chaffins, Alexandria Echo Press
There’s a special group of women working at Douglas County Hospital – they’re mothers and daughters working together and they’re all nurses.
This week is National Nurses Week and it’s also nearly Mother’s Day – a wonderful opportunity to cast the spotlight on six mother-daughter pairs who have chosen the nursing profession.
Martha Esbjornsson and Emily Zeithamer
Martha Esbjornsson, recently retired, worked as a registered nurse (RN) for Douglas County Hospital for 35 years. Her daughter, Emily Zeithamer, RN, has worked in the operating rooms for about nine years.
When asked why she chose to go into nursing, Emily said, “My mom always told me and my brother interesting stories about work and things she’d done and it just sparked my interest from there.”
Martha said, “My oldest sister was a nurse and I looked up to her.”
Martha said she had a few opportunities to work with her daughter. “I enjoyed having the opportunity to see how well she’s doing.”
When asked about advice her mom has given her about nursing, Emily said, “Be caring and compassionate to patients and try to put myself in their shoes.”
Jane Sirek and Carrie Johnson
Jane Sirek is a retired RN who worked in the operating rooms at Douglas County Hospital for 30 years; she had the opportunity to work with her daughter – and fellow nurse – Carrie Johnson.
Jane said she went into nursing because she wanted to help people and make a difference.
Carrie said she was inspired by her mom’s success. “I liked hearing compliments from people in the community who told her, ‘Wow, I really appreciated your care.’ That impacted my life. I wanted to do something good.” She has been a nurse in the surgery center for seven years.
Carrie added that the best piece of advice her mom gave her is to always wear a smile.
Karen Thul and Jackie Thul
Karen Thul said she always thought she’d be a nurse and that’s how it turned out – she’s been an operating room nurse for 29 years.
Her daughter, Jackie Thul has been a medical floor nurse for seven years. “I followed what my mom was doing and I thought it would be good to get into it to help people,” she said.
Best advice from her mom about the nursing career: “Be ready to work nights and weekends,” Jackie said.
Ginny Cohrs and Micala Danielson
Ginny Cohrs and her daughter, Micala Danielson, are both RNs and they’re both instructors in Alexandria Technical and Community College’s nursing program.
The mother-daughter duo is in charge of leading students through the clinical portion of their education at Douglas County Hospital – Ginny works with students in the LPN program and Micala works with RNs.
“It’s wonderful… working with my daughter – it’s a gift that you just can’t measure,” Ginny said.
Before ATCC, Ginny worked as an RN at Douglas County Hospital for 20 years; in all, her nursing career spans 35 years.
Ginny said, “I enjoy working with people and I was drawn to the sciences and medicine and nursing seemed to be a really good fit. It provides wonderful, rich, varied career opportunities to work with people of all ages and needs.”
Micala was a nurse in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of captain, before she started her career locally – she’s been a nursing instructor at ATCC for 12 years.
“I’m drawn to helping people,” Micala said.
She added that the best piece of advice her mom gave her is: “…to maintain a positive composure even when your mind is thinking something else.”
Both women are also public health nurses.
Margaret Kalina and Rachel Kalina
Margaret Kalina is chief nursing officer at Douglas County Hospital and she’s been a nurse for 34 years. After this weekend, her daughter, Rachel, will join the ranks as a fellow nurse.
Rachel will graduate from the nursing program at North Dakota State University on Saturday.
Margaret said she always wanted her daughter to choose a career that made her happy and she felt good enough about her own experience in nursing that she said, “Yes, go for it” when Rachel was considering nursing.
Rachel was at Douglas County Hospital last month wrapping up clinicals before graduation and she said, “I’ve been around nursing my entire life and I’ve had great experiences with nurses when I was a patient. I decided I want to be that person.”
Rachel was recently hired for her first nursing job in Fargo. She said, “I’m incredibly blessed that I got in and this is truly what I love. I think that tells you that I picked the right area of work… it’s where my heart is at.”
When asked why she originally chose to go into nursing, Margaret said, “I wanted to have patient contact and have a job that I knew I could be self-sufficient and probably move and live anywhere I wanted as an adult. It’s a career that you can go so many ways with.”
Teresa Terfehr and Dawn Terfehr
Teresa Terfehr has been a surgery center nurse for 19 years and her daughter, Dawn Terfehr, has started her nursing career as well – she’s been an LPN for three years at Douglas County Hospital.
Teresa entered the nursing field after she was a first responder.
“I wanted to learn more about the healthcare field and I wanted to help people,” she said.
When asked why she chose to go into nursing, Dawn said, “Ever since I was little, I wanted to follow in my mother’s footsteps.”
Dawn added that the best advice her mom gave her is this: “Put your whole heart into this career and genuinely take care of the patients.”.