Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

His name is Russell, but everyone calls him Rusty.

Like a rusty nail, he’s rough around the edges, but funny as hell, and would literally hand over his shoes if you needed them.

Several years ago he joined a small town fire department and made quite an impression. He was more than mechanically inclined and kept the members in stitches with his Rodney Dangerfield humour. He took no guff from anyone but had a sensitive side when it came to his first responder duties, putting patients at ease with the drop of a hat.

Then one day he told everyone he was quitting fighting fires to become a nurse, which threw everyone for a loop. Rusty, a nurse? They couldn’t believe it. In fact, some of his colleagues thought he would never make it in that profession. But he proved them wrong by upgrading his education, especially his math, studying like a devil in training. He passed with flying colours and worked in a hospital, changing the lives of everyone he met. Hence, the theme of this year’s National Nursing Week (May 6-12) — “Changing Lives, Shaping Tomorrow.”

Needless to say, but we’ll say it anyway, the role that nurses play is crucial to their patients’ well-being and the future of health care. 

The Canadian Nurses Association says its members are shaping tomorrow by contributing to advancements in treatments, technologies, and patient care practices. And like Rusty, they have the best bedside manner around, making patients feel better in challenging situations.

Without good nurses, the health care system would be in shambles; a dismal place of recovery. 

The name Florence Nightingale resonates with many people as the founder of modern nursing. She was actually a statistician who inherited a humanitarian outlook at a young age. 

According to Wikipedia, she rejected a suitor of nine years because she was convinced their marriage would interfere with her nursing career. She would later be referred to as “the lady with the lamp” for making rounds tending to wounded Crimean War soldiers at night.

She died in 1910 at the age of 90, leaving a legacy for countless nurses to follow.

So, whatever happened to Rusty? The guy moved to Ecuador to retire. Go figure.