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Meet Nurse Carma Erickson-Hurt who was Honored by UN on International Nurses Day - Nursing Heroes - Nurses Arena Forum

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Meet Nurse Carma Erickson-Hurt who was Honored by UN on International Nurses Day by Idowu Olabode : June 20, 2017, 04:38:37 PM
When Carma Erickson-Hurt was a child, she had to be admitted to the hospital. There she met a nurse who was not only kind, but inspired her to become one too.

“She made an impression on me and I wanted to be like her,” Erickson-Hurt said. “That's what inspired me to be a nurse.”

Now retired, Erickson-Hurt was honored by the United Nations last month on International Nurses Day. She had been nominated by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Project HOPE, where she has worked as a volunteer for the past 10 years. She and 14 other nurses from around the world were honored by Nurses with Global Impact during the UN awards ceremony on May 12 at the UN headquarters in New York.

“They notified me several weeks before the ceremony that I would be honored and when I found out, I was very excited but overwhelmed,” she said. “I had never been to the UN, so it was pretty exciting.”

Erickson-Hurt was first introduced to Project HOPE while she worked as a nurse in the Navy on the hospital ship USRS Mercy stationed out of San Diego. She was part of the team on the ship to respond to the tsunami in Indonesia, and brought the NGO organization with them.

“It was a first because the military does its own thing and civilians do their own thing, but it worked out really well because we're all just nurses and doctors,” she said.

Project HOPE, which stands for Health Opportunities for People Everywhere, is mostly focused on education. In the 50s, it used to have its own hospital ship that traveled the world providing medical care, but after it became too costly the organization conducts more land-based missions.

“I went on a big project with them in China for a semester this last year and taught at a nursing school,” Erickson-Hurt said. “That may have been part of why I was chosen for the UN honor because the amazing thing about education is that it goes on forever.”

Though she was thrilled to be part of the ceremony last month, Erickson-Hurt believes that nurses should be recognized more.

“So many nurses, especially those at bedsides every day, are unsung heroes,” she said. “They put up with a lot, they work hard and deal with not only the patient but their families and the emotional issues that come with all of that, and yet they still care for people. You don't have to do international work to receive recognition for the great work nurses do.”

Of the group was a nurse from the Phillipines, and her story struck Erickson-Hurt more than the rest.

“There were nurses from other countries, not all nominated from the United States, and this woman was in her 40s and died a month before the ceremony,” she said. “It stuck out in my mind that she had done so much, made such a huge difference, and as nice as it was to be rewarded, her death was a reminder that we are patients too and are on the receiving end of care too.”

For those either in the nursing field or thinking of making it a career, Erickson-Hurt said it is one of the best jobs someone can choose.

“It is versitile,” she said. “When you find the right kind of nursing that fits with your personality, there are many, many opportunities to grow your career and go wherever you want to go.”

Though Erickson-Hurt used to work at South Coast Hospice, she now teaches as online faculty at the Grand Canyon University.

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