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JNESO—the voice of healthcare professionals.
“I am a firm believe that nurses are born not made, and that is definitely me,” said Mona Hartle a resident of Henryville, Pa., who has been a practicing nurse for 42 years.
Hartle said her interest in caring for others stems all the way back to childhood, “The neighborhood kids would get hurt and run to me, I would wash it up and fix their boo-boo and make it all better,” she reflected. “Nursing is my calling, my passion. It is not a switch that I can shut off it is who I am 24 hours a day 7 days a week.”
Hartle is a Gastrointestinal Nurse (GI) at Lehigh Valley Pocono (LVH-P) Hospital, where she has spent the majority of her career. “I have worked in the ICU, ER and Chemo but GI is my niche. I like the complexity of the GI system, it is very logical and so I can get a lot of patient teaching in and can clearly explain to them how their disease is working and how to manage it.”
The challenge of the job is a big part of why she loves nursing, but helping patients is what makes everything worth it.
“There nothing like the feeling of complete peace when you have a patient and they think something is majorly wrong with them, and you can go in and tell them that there is hope, this is what they need to do to change or correct the situation and they sigh with relief because they get it.” She emphasized: “Being able to put a smile on their face or make them feel better is what it is all about.”
Hartle has also been deeply committed to advocating not only for patients but for her fellow nurses. For more than 30 years she has been an active member of JNESO, the professional health care union, and has held leadership positions of Steward, Chief and most recently as the past-president of the LVH-P local JNESO chapter.
“Unions are really important, especially today when medicine has become such a big business,” she explained. “A nurse can always get another job but they can never get another license, we help protect that license so nurses can continue to protect their patients and their livelihoods.”
She added, “With JNESO, you know that you are not alone, there is always someone at the other end of the phone or a text away to help you. We support them and make sure they are treated right.”
The protection of the union has been even more important during the COVID-19 Pandemic which has put extra pressure on nurses who not only have to deal with shortages of supplies and staff, but also impacted them physically and mentally.
Hartle said this situation is different from other public health emergencies over the years. “We are scared, but we go in and do our job and take care of our patients. That is what we all do. Only now, every night when we come home we thank God that we are still OK,”
Looking toward the future, Hartle is concerned that the current nursing shortage will get even worse due to the way this pandemic has been handled. “Young people who might have considered nursing may now say ‘I am not going into that, not going to put myself in danger,’ but they have to look past that.” Her advice: “Don’t be scared off. Make a difference.”