|“I was very surprised,” (on being named Nurse of the Year.)
Mary McEvers R.N. was recently honored for her extraordinary work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.
However, the Mission Viejo resident says she was surprised to learn she was a named Nurse of the Year.
“I was very surprised,” she says. “I am not sure I am any more deserving than any other nurse. We have a wonderful group of smart, dedicated, professional nurses at SMMC. It was a great honor to receive the recognition.”
No stranger to nursing, she began her career in 1982 as a LVN working for a group of pediatricians. Four years later, she moved to California from Utah and again went to work for a pediatric group in La Jolla. She continued working for 4 more years while she went to school and completed her R.N. degree.
“I then began working in the hospital setting on a combined pediatric, NICU floor. I knew from the moment I decided to become a nurse that I wanted to work with children and infants,” she recalls. “The NICU was the perfect mix for me since it consisted of the challenges of intensive care nursing, along with the rewards that can be found in working with very small and sick infants. It is extremely rewarding to play a part in helping these infants grow and be discharged home to their families. I especially enjoy it when the families of infants who have benefited from care in the NICU bring their children back to visit. It is great to see their progress and the joy they give their families.”
As for how being a nurse has benefited her own life she says, “it has broadened my understanding of the human experience. I have learned that regardless of race, religion, or economic standing, with few exceptions, parents wish the same thing for their infants. They just love them and want them to be healthy and happy. This has impacted my own life and family relationships.”
The best part?
“NICU nurses are a strange breed; we get excited about the strangest things. Each little milestone that a sick baby makes is so rewarding. When they can be weaned off a ventilator, do well in learning how to bottle feed, be moved out of a warmed isolette, gain weight, or be held by their parents for the first time. Even when they poop, all of this means they are getting better and closer to going home.”
McEvers is married and the couple has two sons, one daughter, and seven grandchildren.
In her spare time, she is active with her church teaching a class of 9 year olds on Sundays. She also is involved in Children's Miracle Network a non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children's hospitals. Its mission is to generate funds and awareness programs in partnership with, and for the benefit of member hospitals/foundations and the children they are privileged to serve.