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Nurses honored with blessings

Chaplain Donald Chapman, left, offers a blessing of the hands Friday to Jeannie Justice, a nurse at Phoebe North. The blessings were conducted at the hospital as part of the recognition for National Nurses Week.

Chaplain Donald Chapman, left, offers a blessing of the hands Friday to Jeannie Justice, a nurse at Phoebe North. The blessings were conducted at the hospital as part of the recognition for National Nurses Week.

ALBANY — Those who work with people through a “healing touch” recently sought some help from a higher power.

Chaplains at Phoebe North blessed the hands of the hospital’s medical staff, primarily nurses, on Friday through a word of prayer on a drop-in basis at the hospital’s chapel.

Among those who came into the chapel on Friday was Jeannie Justice, a nurse on Phoebe North’s surgical floor who has been there for more than 35 years.

Justice was compelled to go into nursing from her experience that came with accompanying her brother to a hospital in Texas when he was getting a procedure done to fix a problem with his eyes.

“Through God, through His help, it helps me to take care of patients,” Justice said. “Nursing was my first love until other things came into my life (such as my husband, family, etc.).

“We all have the same idea in that God gives us love. It helps us to do our job better. God gives us the courage, and we are doing His work.”

The blessings are generally conducted during National Nurses Week, which runs from May 6-12 each year. The special week coincides with the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing.

“She paved the way for nursing today, and was also a devout Christian,” said Donald Chapman, one of the chaplains doing the blessings on Friday.

Doc Williams, another of the Phoebe North chaplains and a retired military chaplain, said the blessings are meaningful to the nurses — as well as anyone else receiving them — regardless of where they come from.

The blessings were conducted in the chapel from 9 a.m.-noon, after which Williams and Chapman went into the individual hospital units to make themselves available to those working on the floors.