These 11 brave nurses remind us why we celebrate National Nurses Week.

Nurses don't get nearly enough credit for their awesomeness.

Sure, doctors stand above them in the hierarchy of medical work (and I guess they're OK too), but nurses are the ones out there on the front lines, the unsung heroes who do the dirty work without expectation of reward.

They're the ones who take care of us — by checking in at the start of the appointment or drawing blood then gently patching us up or encouraging us to drink down delicious apple juice (or whatever other weird but necessary hospital foods). They watch over us at school when we scrape our knees on the playground or fake a headache just to skip gym class.


And, more often than not, they're the ones who are called into action during times of crisis, like superheroes who just can't hang up their capes.

So in celebration of National Nurses Week, here are 11 extraordinary nurses who went above and beyond the call of duty.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

1. In Flint, Michigan, nurses are volunteering their time to give aid to people suffering from the contaminated water.

Veronica Robinson is just one of the many Flint-area nurses and student nurses who have selflessly sacrificed their time to draw and test children's blood and to educate parents on lead contamination, water treatment, and other preventative measures.

Image via wochit news/YouTube.

2. A retired New York nurse saved a man who had a heart attack on a Midtown street.

Claire O'Neill was 69 years old when she saw William Taylor collapse on 9th Avenue. She performed heart compressions until paramedics could arrive. Her act formed an eternal bond between the two as they entered their autumn ages — she even checked on him a few days later at the hospital.

Image via ABC7NY.

3. On her ride home from work, a Boston nurse saved a bus driver who was having a seizure.

Sarah Demers first noticed the bus was shaking … and then that it was drifting toward a pole. She rushed to the front where she found the driver in the middle of a seizure. Fortunately, she was able to step in and hit the brakes in time before getting the driver to a nearby hospital.

Boston Medical Center, where Demers had been working. Photo by Cmcnicoll/Wikimedia Commons.

4. Another nurse was enjoying a game of sudoku some 30,000 feet in the air when she was called to the aid of the pilot flying the plane.

Linda Alweiss was flying home to California from Iowa when the flight attendants made an announcement in search of a medical professional. When Alweiss offered her services, she didn't expect to be reviving a pilot in the middle of a heart attack. (Fortunately, the co-pilot knew how to keep the thing in the air.)

Image via NBC4 Los Angeles.

5. While vacationing in Thailand, a German cyclist collapsed on the side of the road until an off-duty nurse passed by in her car.

Several other cars had allegedly passed by, but none had noticed the man waving for help. Fortunately, Srikanya Cheuarop had been out on a trip with her family and was able to provide first aid until an ambulance could arrive.

Image via Khaosod TV/YouTube.

6. A nursing student was enjoying a night out at the theater when he ended up reviving a woman in the front row.

No sooner had Kristian Keyte settled into his seat at the Bristol Hippodrome to see the musical "The Bodyguard" than he noticed the distressed look on the woman's face in front of him. As it turned out, the woman's mother had suddenly stopping breathing. Keyte performed CPR and helped revive her until the medics arrived to take her to the hospital.

Image via ITV West County.

7. A travel nurse in San Diego ended up delivering a baby in the absence of a doctor … for someone who just so happened to work for her company.

Russ Waehler's wife went into labor a week before expected, but fortunately both of their concerns were calmed by a friendly travel nurse named Kim in the waiting room — who coincidentally worked for the same company as Waehler. When things progressed quickly and the doctor was unable to make it to the delivery room in time, Kim stepped up and handled the work in their stead.

Photo by Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images.

8. A nurse in London was interrupted in the middle of a relaxing pint at the pub when a stabbing victim stumbled through the doors.

The stabbing appeared to be unconnected to the pub itself, but that didn't stop Louise Williams from taking control of the situation. She ordered the bartender to fetch a bath towel, and urged another drinker to phone an ambulance as she tended to the bleeding — ultimately saving the man's life.

The pub where it happened. Photo by Ewan Munro/Flickr.

9. A London nurse assisted an elderly man — who himself had stepped in to help her just minutes before.

65-year-old Stephen Breed intervened when he saw nurse Polly Collins arguing with another man on the train. But when he disembarked at the next station, he collapsed in cardiac arrest ... and Collins took the chance to return the favor while the station attendants called the hospital.

Stephen, left, during his stay in the hospital, and Polly, right. Image via NNM News/YouTube.

10. A Michigan police officer who was training to become a nurse had an unexpected opportunity to employ both sets of skills at once.

Highland Park police officer Mitch Heaney was called to investigate a knife attack near a drug clinic and quickly realized the victim was going to die if he didn't act fast. Heaney used the nursing skills he'd been taught to stop the bleeding.

Image via ABC7 WXYZ.

11. During an Australian heat wave, an off-duty nurse rescued a 4-year-old child from a hot car.

Nurse Jess Hawkins had just finished her shift at Mt. Druitt Hospital in a Sydney suburb when she noticed the child in the parking lot with no shade for protection. She immediately alerted the hospital staff, and police arrived shortly after to smash the car windows and rescue the child from the heat.

Image via 7 News/Yahoo.

To these and all the other brilliant, selfless nurses in the world, we just want to say: Thank you.

And in case you're somehow still not feeling inspired, maybe this'll do the trick:

More

Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

RELATED: This fascinating comic explains why we shouldn't use some Native American designs.

Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

popular

Gerrymandering is a funny word, isn't it? Did you know that it's actually a mashup of the name "Gerry" and the word "salamander"? Apparently, in 1812, Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry had a new voting district drawn that seemed to favor his party. On a map, the district looked like a salamander, and a Boston paper published it with the title The GerryMander.

That tidbit of absurdity seems rather tame compared to an entire alphabet made from redrawn voting districts a century later, and yet here we are. God bless America.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Wikipedia

Women in country music are fighting to be heard. Literally. A study found that between 2000 and 2018, the amount of country songs on the radio by women had fallen by 66%. In 2018, just 11.3% of country songs on the radio were by women. The statistics don't exist in a vacuum. There are misogynistic attitudes behind them. Anyone remember the time radio consultant Keith Hill compared country radio stations to a salad, saying male artists are the lettuce and women are "the tomatoes of our salad"...? Air play of female country artists fell from 19% of songs on the radio to 10.4% of songs on the radio in the three years after he said that.

Not everyone thinks that women are tomatoes. This year's CMA Awards celebrated women, and Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles saw the opportunity to bring awareness to this issue and "inspire conversation about country music's need to play more women artists on radio and play listings," as Nettles put it on her Instagram. She did it in a uniquely feminine way – by making a fashion statement that also made a statement-statement.

Keep Reading Show less
popular