Week also honoring retired nurses
ELKINS — Local nurses are being celebrated as part of National Nurses Week, honoring brave individuals who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many longtime nurses are now retired, but still supportive of present-day nurses, including Sarah Fletcher of Davis.
“There is a saying that many people who have nurses in their families or are acquainted with, which is ‘Once a Nurse, always a Nurse,'” Fletcher said.
“I am a nurse and was part of the nursing community in Elkins from 1967 to 2000,” she said. “I worked at Memorial General and then went to Youth Health after the hospital closed.
“I can write pages about the nursing work I did at both the hospital and Youth Health,” Smith said. “I came out of retirement in 2003 and worked five years for Hospice Care, which is WV Caring now. I did a second retirement to care for a parent and now live in Canaan Valley, where I grew up.”
Fletcher shared some memories about how National Nurses Week was celebrated in the past.
“Far back in the 1970s, there was a Nurses Day Celebration on May 12, the anniversary date of Florence Nightingale’s birthday,” she said. “Efforts were made by the state Nursing Association and local nurses groups to have some type of acknowledgment of the nursing community in state and local locations. Eventually, Nurses Day became Nurses Week, as it is now celebrated.”
In 2016, the Tucker County Chamber of Commerce named Fletcher the Tuckineer of the year. Within the Tucker County community, she has actively volunteered at youth camps and with the Davis Medical Center, the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge, the Tucker County Community Foundation and with many other groups and organizations.
In 1978, Fletcher was named West Virginia Nurse of the Year. For many years, Fletcher has worked as a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, supervisor and head nurse. After retiring, she began working for the Randolph County Hospice.