National Nurses' Day: Nurses Who Made the News

Celebrate National Nurses' Day by learning about 2015's hero nurses.

BySYDNEY LUPKIN
May 6, 2015, 12:34 PM
PHOTO: A nurse is seen in this undated stock photo.
A nurse is seen in this undated stock photo.
Getty Images

— -- intro:Nurses spent a lot of time in the news in the last year, and to celebrate National Nurses' Day, we're highlighting hero nurses.

The National Nurses' Union's executive director, RoseAnn DeMoro, described nursing as a "caring public service."

"Nurses Day is an opportunity to pay tribute to a profession that every year wins the polling for the most trusted profession in America," DeMoro said. "Why? Because the public understands when they are at their most sick and vulnerable, it is the nurse at their bedside who will advocate for their safety and provide the support for their family. We have a slogan in NNU, 'Save One Life, You're a Hero. Save 100 Lives, You're an RN.'"

quicklist: 1category: title: Tricia Seamanurl:text: When Tricia Somers, a single mom with terminal cancer, wondered who would raise her 8-year-old when she died, she found the perfect person: her nurse.

Nurse Tricia Seaman had been in the process of becoming a foster parent -- but at first, she wasn't sure how to respond to the request.

"I didn't know what to say in that moment," said Seaman. "I told her I was flattered enough [that she] asked me. I said to her, 'Why don't you take a little time with this.' ... I was trying to be very diplomatic. Everything in me said was saying, 'Yes I'll do it.'"

Somers died in December after signing papers designating Seaman and her husband as the child's legal guardians after her death.

media:25599535

quicklist: 2category: title: Nina Phamurl:text:Dallas nurse Nina Pham fought for her life last fall when she contracted Ebola from her patient, Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan. Duncan was the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil, and it happened at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where Pham worked.

Pham set fears aside to take care of him and has said she was heartbroken when he later died.

When Pham was released from the NIH Clinical Center and declared Ebola-free, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said he'd miss her.

"I want to first tell you what a great pleasure and in many respects, a privilege ... to have the opportunity to treat and care for and get to know such an extremely courageous and lovely person," Fauci said, adding that Pham represented the health care workers who "put themselves on the line."

Both Pham and another nurse at the hospital who was infected with Ebola, Amber Vinson, have since recovered, but Pham is suing the Dallas hospital for its handling of the Ebola situation.media:29326187

quicklist: 2category: title: Amber Vinsonurl:text: Shortly after Pham was diagnosed with Ebola, her colleague, Amber Vinson, was diagnosed as well. Vinson was treated for Ebola at the Emory University Hospital's Infectious Disease Unit.

"As fellow members of the health care community, we deeply admire Ms. Vinson’s courage and dedication in caring for a patient with a serious communicable disease," said Dr. Bruce Ribner, medical director of Emory University Hospital's Infectious Disease Unit, when Vinson was discharged last fall. "Nurses are on the front lines 24 hours a day in treating our patients and it is their skill, their knowledge and their passion for healing that makes one of the critical differences in caring for our patients."media: 27029631

quicklist: 3category: title: 'Cupid' Nursesurl:text: Stony Brook University Hospital nurse Maggie Knight noticed that one of her patients seemed depressed, so she decided to orchestrate a date night in his hospital room complete with food from the couple's favorite restaurant, music and decorations. Watching her patient light up brought tears to her eyes, she told ABC News at the time.

"He’s a great person, and I couldn't have been happier to give that to him while he’s in the hospital," Knight told ABC News at the time.

The tradition continued, and the nurses chip in to create date nights for patients as often as they can.media:

quicklist: 4category: title: Kaci Hickoxurl:text: Kaci Hickox traveled to West Africa to treat Ebola patients, but when she returned this fall, landing in Newark, New Jersey, she was forced to spend the weekend in a tent outside a nearby hospital. She said she didn't have symptoms, and she continued to fight quarantine rules when she returned to her home in Fort Kent, Maine, when state officials tried to enforce a mandatory quarantine.

"Most aid workers who come home just want to see their family and have a sort of normal life," Hickox said at the time. "I'm fighting for something other than myself."

media:26682638

Is there a nurse who's special to you? Tell us about it in the comments section.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events