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Yes, she’s a frontline nurse during the apex of the Delta summer surge, but Nurse of the Week Misty Freeman, RN, CCRN knows that she’s where she belongs. The North Carolina ICU nurse told local reporter Wylie Bell Richmond, “I love critical care nursing, and although we are in a pandemic, I couldn’t see myself in any other career during this time.”

Freeman focuses on Covid patients right now but is known as an all-rounder. She’s worked in units ranging from the ER and ICU to the progressive care unit, women’s service, and telemetry. And there is no proverbial “eating of our young” at Scotland Memorial Hospital, where she has worked for nearly 15 years. Having been a candy-striper as a teen, Freeman has a place in her heart for any of the “new kids.” She makes time to support new nurses on the unit and mentors them and the cohorts of nursing students from Richmond Community College.

A graduate of Richmond Community College – where she earned her ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing) – Freeman recalls being inspired by the faculty – and her own RCC mentor is proud to return the compliment. Her former instructor Ronnie Lynn Tunstall, in fact, offers the kind of praise that one might tape to their mirror as a daily affirmation message: “Misty is a positive role model, but above and beyond she is an amazing nurse who takes care of her patients, families and other members of the healthcare team.”

“I went into nursing because I love helping people, and no matter what, I would do that at any cost.”

Her formative ADN experience entailed a great deal of hard work and perseverance – and close attention to nurturing a fast-growing infant. As she considered plans for embarking on her dream career, Freeman know she couldn’t lose time chasing will-o’-the-wisps. “At the time [that I enrolled], I had a small child so going off to a university wasn’t an option. After doing some research, I knew that going off to a university did not necessarily make you a better nurse.” She adds, “I knew RichmondCC had an awesome nursing program.”

While inspiring, it was also challenging. At dinner times, her family soon became accustomed to seeing Freeman arrive at the table with her textbooks, so she could keep up with her assignments.

“Nothing came easy for me and I knew that I had to get through the program the first time around so I really had to study. My parents are the ones who instilled in me that education is important, and they helped me get through school.”

Freeman only earned her ADN degree at Richmond CC, but her experience in the program brought her love of nursing to full bloom, leaving her with a profound attachment to her alma mater and to Scotland Memorial as well (the hospital covered most of her college expenses during her first two years there).

“After doing some research, I knew that going off to a university did not necessarily make you a better nurse.”

What does she see for her future? There IS another dream, albeit still within the nursing fold. Freeman is bent on becoming a flight nurse. “I did a ride-along program with Duke Life Flight [in Durham, NC], and the experience was amazing,” she says. So, Scotland Memorial’s “role model” nurse may spread her wings further before long.

First, though, she may wait to establish a family tradition at RCC and SMH. Freeman’s now-grown daughter, Hailey Bustard, is studying at Richmond CC and preparing to transfer into a radiology program. Hailey’s mom couldn’t be happier about this: “College can be one of the most exciting times in your life. It’s an experience that comes with memories that last a lifetime… I’m proud my daughter is attending RichmondCC and… getting the support she needs to accomplish her goals.”

And does Freeman feel that she did in fact “sign on” for a pandemic? Well, she does say, “I went into nursing because I love helping people, and no matter what, I would do that at any cost.”

To see more details on Misty Freeman, check out this story on the RCC News.

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Koren Thomas

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