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Alaska Native Medical Center celebrates Nurses Week with a carnival

The Alaska Native Medical Center celebrated National Nurses Week on Wednesday by giving staff a chance to have some fun.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 8:43 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Alaska Native Medical Center celebrated National Nurses Week on Wednesday by giving staff a chance to have some fun.

The top floor of the Medical Center parking garage was turned into an open-air carnival with games of chance and fair food for nurses and nursing staff to enjoy.

Nursing staff President Mary Martin said the idea was to give nurses a much-needed break after working through a pandemic. She said staff at the Medical Center appreciate the sacrifices nurses have made and want them to know they’re supported.

“Cancelling vacations, working overtime, working extra shifts to help cover their coworkers on their units when they’re short, moving to other units to help them out when they’re short, so yes, a lot of sacrifices,” said Martin.

Arylis Scates is a nurse who’s worked on the COVID-19 Unit for the last two and a half years. He said the pandemic took a physical and emotional toll as he watched patients die, colleagues get sick and many nurses quit.

“I chose to stick around, a lot of nurses didn’t,” Scates said. “And that’s hard to see a lot of your close friends just leave the profession.”

But Scates said as hard as it’s been, the job is getting better. Patient loads have declined, and the hospital is hiring new staff.

“We’ve got a whole bunch of new nurses that are learning new things, and willing to be a part of that team and are eager to learn,” Scates said. “The team is being rebuilt and so it’s good, it’s great.”

Wednesday’s carnival was one of a series of events the Medical Center is holding for Nurses Week, which continues through Thursday.

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