Nurse at St. Francis for 55 years looks back on her time there

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - 78-year-old Stevie Cousans has been working in the St. Francis emergency room as a nurse since 1996. She’s been a nurse at the hospital since 1966. When the pandemic hit, her doctor advised her to stay home. So she did for a while but quickly insisted on going back to work, and she doesn’t plan on retiring anytime soon.

“I still like what I do and if I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be here,” said Cousans. “As you know, since you’re here so long, this is another home, so I come home, I don’t have to wash clothes here.”

It’s been 55 years and Cousans has loved every year of nursing along the way. She’s been the light of hope here at St. Francis, even during the darkest hours of COVID-19.

“She’s always chuckling, she’s always got something funny to say,” said ER Nursing Supervisor Teresa Daniel. “And she is like a mother hen to all the little baby chicks, all the new nurses. She’s always watching out for everybody.”

Per doctors’ orders, Stevie took a two-month break when COVID hit but after itching to get back she returned to a job that matches patients with the best medicine regimen. That way she wasn’t in close contact with the virus.

“We made sure that Stevie had a job and med reconciliation which anybody knows as a nurse, that’s a very important part of nursing and Stevie does a phenomenal job at that,” said Chief Nursing Officer Kayla Johnson.

When Stevie got back to work, she was ecstatic to comfort patients again.

“I like going in the rooms, talking to the patients, and to me, that’s the biggest part just being able to talk to everybody and work with the new nurses who I used to say were my children, but now I can say they’re my grandchildren,” said Cousans.

Cousans said she’s seen many changes while walking down these halls of St. Francis over the years, from technology to dealing with a pandemic. However, she gives the same advice to nursing students and new nurses, including her grandaughter who’s also a nurse. That advice is to care for patients like they’re your family.

“Pre-covid I used to say don’t ever be afraid to touch your patient, pat their hands, even if you have to give them a hug because you’re not seeing them in their normal life, you know,” said Cousans. “I also tell them if you don’t like people, don’t go into nursing.”

Cousans credits the St. Francis ministry for her years of service. She says she couldn’t do this job without its ongoing faith.

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