Laurie Epperson has firsthand knowledge of how important nurses are to patients and their families.
Epperson, a nursing coordinator at Wesley Long, originally interviewed for a pediatric cancer nursing job. She had just had her daughter, Haleigh, and decided to go with a surgical unit because it was a better fit for her family. But at age 5, Haleigh was diagnosed with cancer. She was treated and is now a senior in college. Epperson says she hadn’t anticipated becoming her daughter’s primary nurse, but says, “I feel like I have the two greatest jobs in the world: being a nurse and being a mother.” She and her husband, Danny, also have a son, Daniel.
Epperson went into nursing to help others. “I want to give hope to people, comfort those that are in uncomfortable times in their lives, to help give any sort of peace that you can give. I feel like I have a really strong responsibility.”
Her faith, co-workers and family help get her through rough days, she says. “Not too long ago, I had a terrible, terrible day. At the end of the day, I had a patient that passed away and I sat with the husband on the floor and talked to him,” she says. “I was put where I was — put in that spot — for a reason, because this man needed me to help him. I needed to be where I was, so I really think that … it’s more about if you touch one person, then you know that you’ve done something. It’s very rewarding.”
One way Epperson gives back is by volunteering with Victory Junction Gang. “Life has a way of putting you in people’s paths at the right time,” she says. “I think that’s probably the biggest thing — to go and help serve other people.”
Being at the hospital can be stressful for patients and their families. “They’re very vulnerable, and I just feel like they need some type of calm or peace, and that I feel like I can bring that to them.” Her biggest nursing achievement? Touching someone’s life, she says.