When Beverly Paul was just 7 years old, she had her appendix removed. After that, she had always said she wanted to become a nurse. Growing up as a farm girl, she said there weren’t a lot of professions for women back in the day. Nursing is what she was drawn to and she knew that is what she wanted to do.

And she did and has been doing so since 1976.

For the past 28 years of her 44-year career, Paul has worked at Sanford Broadway Medical Center. Prior to that, she worked at Alomere Health, which was known at the time as Douglas County Hospital.

Paul, a registered nurse, has her bachelor of science in nursing and is also a certified wound and ostomy care nurse. She also teaches diabetic education at Sanford.

Beverly Paul
Beverly Paul

During the more than 40 years she has been a nurse, Paul has seen many changes, including using metal syringes and mixing medications and their own solutions to paper charting and not having as many nursing opportunities as there are now.

When Paul first started out in her career, nurses mostly worked in clinics, hospitals and schools. Nowadays, there are nurses in public health, private sector businesses, senior living facilities and more.

“There are so many more opportunities nowadays,” said Paul, adding that there are so many shifts to work as well. There are day, evening, night and weekend shifts available, allowing for flexibility.

Other changes include the amount of time patients spend in hospital following a surgery. These days, someone having a knee surgery could be released the next day or even the same day. Previously, patients could spend several days in the hospital, which Paul said allowed nurses to build relationships with them.

Over the years, the relationships she has built as a nurse is something she will always hold near and dear to her heart.

Being a nurse for Paul is all about the patient and caring for them in the best way possible. She recalled numerous times while being out in the public whether shopping or out to eat and running into people that she has cared for.

“People have come up to me and talked about the time I took care of them or their loved one and some have been from 30 years ago,” she said.

Paul shared the story of a man who had been in the hospital for a procedure and as his nurse, she asked if there was anything she could do. He asked her if she could clean his ears and so she did. A year and a half after that day, he saw her out and about and thanked her again for doing that.

“He remembered me and he was so appreciative a year and a half later,” she said. “Whatever you can do to make it better for your patients, that’s what nursing is about. Always being that advocate for the patient is so important.”

With people spending less and less time in the hospital and with the advent of e-visits and virtual visits, Paul said it may be more difficult to build those close patient-caregiver relationships.

“To be able to be involved in the care of a patient and for family members to put their trust in me to take care of their loved ones, I feel so privileged to be able to do what I do,” said Paul.