I am a Registered Nurse who has spent much of the last two years here in North Platte, working at Great Plains Regional Medical Center.
I have now ended my last contract here and would like to extend my thank you.
First, I would like to thank Nebraska. I know it sounds foolish to thank a piece of the country, but I donít know how else to put it. You have been such a pleasant surprise. I am of two minds about this.
I donít think that you promote yourself very well, because largely people think of you as a fairly desolate place with only Omaha and the Huskers to offer the residents of this place any diversion. They couldnít be more incorrect.
From the rugged Sandhills, to all of the beautiful lakes, streams, the great Platte River and the amazing and diverse wildlife, this state has some of the most amazing views in the entire land. I have so thoroughly enjoyed the crane migration. They are magnificent and to think that this is the place they have chosen to congregate at the same time every year is wonderful. I donít think that North Platte promotes this very well. Kearney makes a small fortune off viewing this spectacle. I never saw anything in Kearney that North Platte couldnít take advantage of as well.
Again though, I am of two minds on this. Perhaps if more people take in your area, it wonít be the special place it has become for me.
Specifically to North Platte? I would like to suggest the North River Road be declared a scenic byway.
I have rarely traveled a prettier highway and I have traveled that one many, many times. I would like to thank all the people who shared that road with me and took the time to slow down for the slow SUV with Iowa plates who was slowly traveling that road and staring out the window. Not one of you honked rudely at me. The wildlife along that stretch usually posed while I fumbled with my camera, and I have amazing pictures to go along with my memories.
I would like to personally thank Dr. Gary Conell. He graciously gave me permission to take pictures of this lovely pond. The water fowl that frequent that pond were amazing and they posed as well, over and over, while I struggled to get it right. The seasons reflected in the still water make lovely memories as well.
The bald eagles that patiently watched me as I watched them hunt the river at Cody Park were ďmyĒ eagles in January. The bald eagles at Lake Ogallala were breathtaking and posed over and over for me. They were stunning in takeoff and landing as well. It is amazing that over 100 of them hunt that lake in the winter and yet I never saw very many cars there taking in that sight.
Perhaps if more people would go there they would go there they would be more secretive, so I thank them for showing me their majestic beauty. The herons that nested in the very trees that the eagles roost in were an amazing sight that I will never forget. The ducks, cormorants, geese and pelicans put on performance after performance for me.
I would like to thank the medical staff that I have had the opportunity to work with. You, in North Platte, should look on the people who staff your hospital with a good deal of pride. They are some of the best people I have had the opportunity to work with. Every hospital I have worked for has had its share of problems and GPRMC has its own. While it has been frustrating in many respects for the staff to manage some of the bumps it has encountered, the people who ultimately pay the bill, the patients should be assured that the people at your bedside care deeply about you and want only the best outcome for you.
It is a rare thing to share the deep caring I have. Medicine in this country has become largely impersonal and delivered at armís length. As a rule, that is not the case here in your hospital. If I have a suggestion? Keep demanding this of the administration here. You have something very special and it would be a tremendous shame to lose the part of it that makes you so special. Not everything the big cities do is right or even good for you. The doctors you have are mostly really wonderful professionals that are a credit to their profession.
The nursing staff can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best I have worked with. The other departments take pride in their work and it is so obvious to all the rest of us. Anyone who thinks they can improve on the attitude and work ethic here is wrong.
Instead of trying to change the way people speak and act who are taking care of their neighbors and friends, a study should be conducted and training should be initiated everywhere else to emulate your process. Stilted and scripted conversations make you sound artificial and that is not a word that can describe any of the people with whom I have had the opportunity to interact.
To Melissa Peterka, RN, Liz OíConnor, RN, Christy Petersen, RN, and Stacy DeFigarelli I would like to extend the warmest and most sincere thank you. You made my time here so very special. From co-workers to lifelong friends, you have made and impact on my life that cannot be forgotten.
I would like to extend a very personal thank you to Stacy DeFigarelli, She has been the most patient and willing ďco-pilotĒ throughout my stay here. After a long night at work, days off, long miles, etc., she has always been ready to go and show. She is an amazing photographer. You helped make my stay amazing. It made looking forward to everyday an adventure.
To the people of North Platte? Thank you. You have been most welcoming to me. I have felt this place become home to me. You are kind, welcoming, and wonderful. Your charm has been somewhat addicting, thus the length of my stay. I must be off now. I am aging and I have yet to see a whale. It is on my bucket list. You are all part of a jewel that I have been pleased to discover.
Change if you must, but change for the better, ok? Donít ever change who you are or those wide welcoming arms. It has been so special for me to experience this.
Most sincerely, Martha Bopp, RN
First published in the May 30 edition of the North Platte Bulletin.