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Educator, detective, cheerleader: Nurses serve in variety of roles

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Greenville VA Clinic nurses Chris Ramsey and Crystal Finnley have their hands washed by local VA chaplin W.R. Allen and Durham VA chaplin Matthew Incorvaia duriing the annual Blessing of the hands ceremony Tuesday afternoon. The event was held in recognition of National Nurses Week, in which some nurses dressed in traditional white outfits and hats.


Sharieka Breeden
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nancy Leggett-Frazier becomes tearful when she reflects on why she made the decision to become a nurse.

Leggett-Frazier and other nurses dressed in traditional white uniforms participated in the second annual Blessing of Hands ceremony on Tuesday at the Veterans Medical Clinic, where staff was recognized and honored as a part of National Nurses Week. 

When Leggett-Frazier decided to leave behind her days as high school teacher and become a nurse in 1987, she decided to enter a field where she would have the opportunity to fulfill various roles. As a nurse, Leggett-Frazier finds that patients are willing to talk with her and develop a real understanding of their care.

“There is something special about nursing because you're an educator no matter what you do,” Leggett-Frazier said. ”You're a detective to help them figure out where they are having problems and help them get over those problems, and you're a cheerleader because you are to motivate patients to help them do their very best in the areas they want to work on. It doesn't matter whether it’s diabetes, cancer or hypertension or any area of healthcare. It’s always the same.”

During the ceremony, Wallace Allen, a Veteran Affairs outpatient chaplain, said last year’s ceremony was very special for the clinic because it was the first. This year’s held significance due to carrying the same tradition of honoring people who spend their workdays focused on improving the lives of others. 

Allen said the hands of nurses are washed during the ceremony as a type of cleansing. Drying and rubbing oil on hands are the next phases of the process. Soothing music played as each nurse participated in the ritual.

People of the Christian faith received crosses on their hand and other spiritual individuals received a heart on their hand. The symbols were made with oil.

”It gives you the vibrancy to go back out and continue,” Allen said.

For Diane Daleo, a nurse who has worked at the clinic for two years, the ceremony was a way to acknowledge the mind, body and soul — something she said helps nurses renew their dedication to the position. 

“It means a lot for us to be recognized with all the hard work that we do,” she said. “I think some of the most important people are the veterans, the people who serve us everyday. We are very lucky for the population we serve. They've done a lot for us, and I like to give back to them.”

Knowing that she is helping to provide care and insight makes Leggett-Frazier feel good.

A person committed to any job serves an important role, she said. 

“We’ve just been called to this one,” she said.


Contact Sharieka Breeden at 252-329-9567 and sbreeden@reflector.com. Follow her on Twitter @ShariekaB.