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Indiana nurses' passion for patients lift spirits, keeps them coming back

Whether you talk to a nurse who's been on the job for decades or a couple years, they'll all tell you the same thing.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The field of nursing is constantly evolving. Whether you talk to a nurse who’s been on the job for decades or a couple years, they’ll all tell you the same thing. There’s one thing that keeps them coming back.

"You’re there for the patient. You have to remind yourself that," Jennifer Benner, a nurse, who's spent the last 26 years with Baptist Health Floyd, said.

It's a shared passion among many in her profession.

"I love the patients and I’m there to make a difference," Ashley Key, a nurse, just three years in, with Baptist Health Floyd said.

"You know you’re there to help someone on what may be their worst day," Benner said.

We asked these nurses, who've worked for years in outpatient surgery what they'd tell people who are thinking about going into their field.

"That’s a tough question, because you have to tell them what to expect and that’s the unknown. One day you walk in with full PPE. The next day, you’re taking care of somebody who’s on their deathbed," Lisa Kiesler, a retired nurse of 38 years at Baptist Health Floyd, said.

They all mentioned the patients who also can make everything better, even in the most stressful circumstances.

"They would come in and the first thing they’d say is, 'I am so glad you are here,'" Kiesler said.

When comparing notes, they’ll tell you the biggest change over the years is time itself.

"I just love talking to the people," Kiesler said.

There’s never enough of it. Kiesler will tell you about the days of handwritten notes and lengthy conversations, even back rubs. But today, there's very little time for any of that, now that charting is all online.

"We felt like we were looking at the computer most of the time instead of taking care of the patient," Kiesler said.

They agree, it’s a task that sometimes has to wait, so a personal connection can be made. It may be the only chance a patient gets, during days of isolation and self-quarantines.

"Right now, there’s no visitors allowed, and so we're trying to give patients the time they need and the time they deserve since they don’t have any friends and family with them. That’s the biggest thing with the COVID," Key said.

"It is a tough call for the nurses going into it. I loved it. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat, yes," Kiesler said.

►Contact reporter Brooke Hasch at bhasch@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Hasch) and Facebook.  

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