Salute to Nurses…

Every year I am honored with the project of going around the state of Indiana to visit the 5 or 6 best nurses in the state, as well as three or four of the runners up and the student scholarship winner.  During the course of each year the Indianapolis Star collects and goes through thousands of nomination letters from hospitals and hospital systems all over the state, to find one outstanding nurse.  A nurse that stands apart from the rest in some way or another, that means he or she is that next level.  That nurse goes to 11 so to speak.  In a lot of cases the nurses that I met; definitely did go that extra mile…

(Canon EOS5D Mark II, 400ISO, Canon EF70-20F2.8IS@70mm.  1/80th@F3.5.  Single Canon 580EX Speedlight set to 1/16th shot through a 32″ umbrella first by a Pocket Wizard Plus II transceiver, from a Pocket Wizard Plus II Transceiver on the camera’s Hot shoe.)

The photo above was taken at the IU Health North Campus here in Indianapolis.  Sandra here was nominated because of all of her thankless work that shes does in the surgery recovery center.  Her voice would be the first one you hear coming out of surgery, as she is usually there wen patients regain consciousness for the first time.  It’s an unbelievably important job that she does, that in my opinion goes incredibly unnoticed in society as I personally had no idea they had someone specifically for that purpose.  Of course on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of jobs that the public knows exist:

(Canon 5D Mark II, 100ISO, Canon EF70-200F2.8IS@135mm.  1/160th@F2.8.  Single Canon 580EX Speedlight on a stand shot through a 32″ Umbrella set to 1/8th power to above camera right.  Single 580EX Speedlight set to 1/2 power in the hallways outside the conference room to illuminate the frosted glass background.  Both lights triggered by Pocket Wizard Plus II’s with a Pocket Wizard Plus II in the Camera hot shoe.)

The shot above is of Susan Moore from the IU School of Nursing located here in Indy on IUPUI’s campus.  She was named the educator of the year this year, and along with the others completely deserved it.  She is in charge of of shaping the minds of the future nurses into being the best around.  I happen to know that IU health maintains it’s focus on preeminence, and Susan winning the Educator of the year award proves IU’s resolve at that goal.  My good friends Sam Riche (who needs to update his website) and Matt Dial now work at IU Health coming from the Indystar.  Preeminence was described to me by Sam as being the best, or at the forefront of what one does.  The dictionary simply defines it as having Superiority.  Sam is the man behind the video or still camera, or is in the directors chair with his team proving preeminence by telling stories of success in the IU Health network.  Telling the stories of these nurses, as well as things as simple as letting a premature baby sleep on the mother or fathers chest for comfort, and how it increases the likelihood of growth and proper maturation significantly more quickly than in an incubator.  Sam is a photojournalist that now tells these stories of helping people and he loves every minute of it.  Matt from what I understand has been more on the development side of things to this point, but is transitioning into working with Sam more on presentation and online integration of these projects Sam and his team have been working on; as well as shooting some of these things himself, as Matt is also a capable journalist.  I digress.  Several IU Health nurses were featured in this event, and with IU’s goal of Preeminence I wasn’t surprised.  Despite the fact that I am a Purdue alumni, I have to admit that the IU Health system is definitely in the top percentile.

(Nikon D4, 1600ISO, Nikon 70-200VR2@105mm. 1/200th@F2.8)

Unfortunately, the closest I come to telling the amazing story of these Nurses is by documenting them receiving their awards.  While I am there to meet them earlier, and I even meet their nominators, I don’t ever really get to spend enough time photographing or hearing the amazing journeys that they have taken to deserve such awards as they receive in the luncheon from earlier today.  The photo above is of the keynote speaker this year, Anne Ryder.  Anne was the last person to interview Mother Theresa before she died, and did so by volunteering as a nurse in Calcutta after her request for an interview was denied.  She had several wonderful stories of now nurses had impacted her over the course of her life, and even though some of those stories were intensely personal, and not always good; she saw the immense benefits of the experience provided by each.

(Nikon D4, 6400ISO, Nikon 70-200F2.8VR2@140mm.  1/80th@F2.8 Nikon SB900 Speedlight on the camera’s hot shoe pointed up with the bounce card up set to -0.3 for just a tiny bit of fill.)

That woman with the look of deer in headlights, utter shock and excitement is Beth Tharp from Anderson Indiana.  The Man next to her is Morris Bradley from the Star, who brought her flowers and escorted her to the stage when she won.  She was this years Nurse of the Year as decided by the Indiana Nursing Society, and the Indianapolis Star.  She gave a wonderful thank you speech and also received a beautiful necklace from Moyer Fine jewelers here in Indianapolis.  Honestly it’s probably only a fraction of the thanks that a lot of these nurses (and the many unnamed) deserve.  The photos that I took of each of the winners (mostly portraits) are considered part of their prize, and for that I am humbled knowing what these nurses have done to impact so many lives.  Each will receive a DVD with the video and photos that I created for the upcoming Salute to Nurses special section, and in our online Nursing Magazine.  Now I wait until next year, when I am allowed again a brief brush with these great nurses whose selfless acts have achieved them an incredible recognition.  More Soon.