Lori Whitmarsh

Lori Whitmarsh is recognized as one of Iowa's Great Nurses. She has been a nurse for over 40 years. Photo courtesy of MercyOne Clinton

CLINTON — Being a nurse requires a person to be quick on their feet as no day is the same.That especially rings true right now with the coronavirus pandemic.

If anyone knows and understands the demanding lifestyle that comes with being a first responder, it is Lori Whitmarsh. She is a nurse at MercyOne Clinton, and she has been working in her field for over 40 years.

Just recently, she was recognized as one of the 100 Great Iowa Nurses. It is a program that asks for patients, coworkers, friends and family members to nominate outstanding nurses for recognition. Whitmarsh says she is honored to receive the honor but says she is just doing her job.

“I’m an old nurse. I’ve been doing this for 45 years,” Whitmarsh told the Clinton Herald. “I’m really not a person that’s big into being recognized for things. I work hard, and I do the best I can. It’s a great honor to be recognized but it is hard for me to take all of the compliments and the praise and everything. It makes me uncomfortable.”

For Whitmarsh, being a nurse was her destiny since she was a little girl. She says she knew when she was 5 years old that this is what she wanted to do. It was in her DNA. She had an aunt who was a nurse, and Whitmarsh says that is what sparked her interest. After completing high school and college, she became a nurse within two years. From there, she says she just kept going.

Doing this for over 40 years, one would think Whitmarsh would grow tired of the daily grind, but she says no two days are the same in her field. And that is what keeps her going.

“It’s not hard to keep nursing fresh because it doesn’t stay the same from second to second,” Whitmarsh said. “It’s constantly changing. There are always new regulations. There’s always new literature. There are always new experiences, practices, and products. New everything, every day. There’s something new.”

Whitmarsh does it all at MercyOne Clinton, from managing people to practicing nursing. But she says though she is always very busy, she does not get burned out. She credits the people that work with her and for her, because she says without them, she would not be able to do her job.

For Whitmarsh, nursing is her passion. She loves every aspect of it and says that’s what makes her career so special. Every day she gets a chance to be there for someone who is going through a difficult time. She says that is what drives her.

“It’s hard work to be a nurse,” Whitmarsh said. “And, it’s long hours, and it’s lots of stress. There’s a lot to learn, and there’s a lot of exciting stuff as well as a lot of stuff that are barriers to getting your job done. But, in the end of it all, when you drive home at the end of the day. You’ve made a difference in at least one person’s life, if not more. And, it’s very rewarding.”