BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As we approach the seventh month of the coronavirus pandemic here in Kern County, it’s essential to remember our everyday heroes in the healthcare field. One of these heroic healthcare workers is Mary Stanley, a retired nurse who’s still helping new mothers nurture the Golden Empire’s next generation. For six decades, Stanley has made a name for herself helping young mothers, and the nursing community honored her for a lifetime of achievements.
“I was astounded that I was the actual winner of that award,” said Stanley. “It was such a heartwarming experience.”
The 82-year-old nurse was given the prestigious Kern County’s A.C.N.L Lifetime Achievement Award for her revolutionary work in the childbirth education field. A field that Stanley still volunteers for, despite her age.
“It was hard for me when somebody asked me if I was retired,” said Stanley. “I couldn’t even say yes I’m retired, I would say, you know, I’m retired from clinical practice, but I’m not ever going to retire from mothers and babies.”
While people her age are enjoying their golden years, Stanley insists on working. She continues to help mothers 60 years younger than herself adjust to parenting in a pandemic.
“These new moms are grateful for the fact that they have somebody that they can talk to and that they can trust,” said Stanley. “I’m grateful to be still able to do what I love.”
The veteran nurse now relies on decades of institutional knowledge and experience to help nurture their young ones.
“I am finding at this particular time that age, longevity, and experience are now assets instead of liabilities,” said Stanley.
Yvonne Chambers is the President of Kern County’s A.C.N.L chapter and was Stanley’s supervisor for more than 15 years.
“She’s the epitome of compassion, and nursing is a calling for her, not a profession,” said Chambers.
Chambers had the pleasure of presenting her friend with the award, giving her a personal touch in an otherwise virtual event.
“As they were announcing the category on the virtual presentation, I knocked on the door and presented her the award,” said Chambers. “That was pretty special for her and me.”
A moment the pair won’t soon forget and a chance for Stanley to reflect on the only job she’s ever loved.
“As long as I am walking the planet, I hope to be able to assist mothers and babies when they need it,” said Stanley.