Sometimes, being a mom means being a nurse. And a lot of nurses juggle their careers and motherhood. Perhaps that’s why we celebrate Moms and nurses each May. Mother's Day is May 10 this year and National Nurses Week is May 6-12.
"Being a mother and a nurse require a similar skill set. Both mothers and nurses require good communication skills, critical thinking, planning and lots of empathy and compassion," said Becky Atkinson, RN, who works at Northern Rockies Medical Center in Cut Bank.
For Becky, "being a mom is one of my greatest achievements," she stated. "I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to watch my kids grow up to become good, kind, responsible people. I have enjoyed my kids during every stage of growing up, but really enjoy spending time with them as adults and getting to see the ways you influenced the person they have become."
Becky and her husband Niall have been married for 30 years and have two children. David, 24, lives in Missoula and is completing his degree in Journalism at the University of Montana. Elizabeth, 21, will be returning to Bozeman to continue working on a "pre-med track," said Becky, "studying Nutrition Science."
Both of their children graduated from Cut Bank High School and have grown to love Montana as much as their parents.
Becky admits there are always going to be challenges when you have children, that is just part of that "job." But for her, "watching my kids succeed in accomplishing their goals is one of the things that makes all the struggles worthwhile."
As most parents will agree, time with your children seems to go by way too fast. Before you know it, they are grown up, moving on and finding their own paths. It was that way for Becky too.
"Spend as much time with your kids as you can. I know it sounds cliché but the time you have with your kids really goes by quickly," she encourages younger moms.
"Some of my fondest memories are reading to my kids when they were little." Her advice to new moms, "Read to them as much as possible."
Becky graduated from the University of Indianapolis with her nursing degree nearly 30 years ago.
"My interest in nursing started when I volunteered at a nursing home when I was 14. Around the same time, my grandmother had cancer and after frequent visits to John's Hopkins Hospital, I knew I wanted to become a nurse," she said.
She continued, "Impacting the health of a patient is the thing I love most about nursing. Not only is it rewarding to care for a patient at the bedside, but it is equally rewarding to develop quality processes that ensure patients receive the best care possible."
Becky is the Clinical IT Analyst and Clinic Manager at NRMC. She has also been the facility’s Swing Bed Manager, Risk and Quality Manager and Infection Prevention Nurse.
Before that, while she was in college, Becky worked as a nursing assistant in a memory care unit at a nursing home. Following graduation, she spent the next 20 years working in cardiac care and intensive care units.
In today's world, those on the front lines, have the scariest and most dangerous job and that includes nurses.
"The knowledge that from Florence Nightingale to present times, healthcare professionals have always found ways to cure or cope with disease, is what helps me handle the situation we find ourselves in today," shared Becky.
"COVID-19 is scary and challenging for nursing and healthcare in general, but it will eventually dissipate. However, it will leave lasting changes in the way we care for patients," she concluded.