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Year of the Nurse Feature: Tonya Sanders, RN

As 2020 has been declared Year of the Nurse by the World Health Organization, we would like to take this time to focus on our great nursing staff. They are arguably the most important people in the organization, whether they think so or not. We appreciate the sacrifices they make to take care of us and our loved ones. From working nights and holidays, to being on call and making home visits- they do it all with integrity and courage. They are selfless, caring, innovative, fierce, and much more than we have time to describe. So, nurses, thank you. You do what others cannot, we appreciate you.

With that, BBGH would like to share with you, our community, a little bit more about our nurses; who they are and why they do what they do.

Meet Tonya Sanders. Tonya is originally from South Dakota and moved to Alliance in 1990 with her husband and has been working at Box Butte General Hospital ever since! She has been with the Dialysis Unit for 18 years, and before that was a nurse on the Patient Care Unit. She said, “I love the day-to-day caring for the wonderful patients we have in Dialysis. Some nurses don’t enjoy routine, but I like getting to know them [patients], they are like family to me. Nursing is a great opportunity to show my strengths of compassion, caring, and organization. I am grateful to have had these years, and look forward to many more, Lord willing!”  

Tonya didn’t always know she wanted to be a nurse. She said, “After I graduated I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I went to Bible School in Omaha for a year, and then decided I wanted to be a nurse. I had an aunt who was a nurse, and I always looked up to her, so I went to nursing school in Rapid City. I have never regretted it.”

When Tonya isn’t caring for her Dialysis patients, she enjoys spending time with her grandkids, who are all under seven years old. “Each one has a special place in my heart,” she said. She also enjoys making puzzles and going to lunch with friends.    

Florence Nightingale, popularly known as the ‘founder of modern nursing’ mentioned in her personal diary in the 1870s, “It will be 150 years to see the kind of nursing I envision.” We hope to continue her vision, 150 years later and 150 years from now. In reference to that, Tonya said, “I would like to see dialysis patients able to have an implantable bionic kidney, and have it be affordable for all.”

As 2020 continues, keep your nurses in mind. They have families, hobbies, and feelings just like the rest of us. The main difference is they are courageous enough to do what we cannot, or choose not, to do.