Singing nurse embraces her faith at CMC

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Known for her “caring demeanor and beautiful voice,” Carmen Green continues to uplift patients at Cartersville Medical Center. Singing since the age of 3, the Calhoun resident now uses her voice to enhance the lives of others while working as a registered nurse at 2 North, a medical-surgical unit at CMC.

“I started singing to my patients almost immediately,” said Green, who joined CMC in 2018 at the age of 53. “To be honest, I truly would not know how to do a job and not sing at some point of my day. I started singing at the age of 3, standing on a piano bench with the pianist at my church who just happened to be my godmother.

“I am a daughter and granddaughter of two Baptist ministers who were pastors most of my life. I am very grateful for my upbringing in church, which actually began in my mother’s womb. So, singing for me in every situation, especially trials, is synonymous with nursing for me.”

Along with informing patients of their pain plan and CMC’s Rounding With Purpose, where the 6 Ps — Pain, Potty, Perception, Position, Possessions and Pickup — are addressed — she lets them know she is available to sing upon request.

“After educating each patient, I then tell them my background,” Green said. “I tell them I am a Baptist preacher’s daughter, that I have sung all my life and if they need a prayer or a song I’m their nurse and they can press their call light and ask for me, no matter what need they have, and I will be their advocate for the day.

“Our patients range in age from 20s to 90s with many diagnoses of DVT, COPD, many types of cancer, altered mental status, kidney and liver diseases, stroke, heart disease; again, it is a very busy med/surg unit,” she said, initially referring to deep vein thrombosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. “I sing for almost all of my patients at some point during their stay, sometimes daily, and sometimes I am asked to sing for others. I sing all types of gospel, jazz — hard to beat Etta James singing ‘At Last’ — country, some ’70s and ’80s rock. Southern gospel is my favorite. If a patient asks for a song and I know even a verse, I will sing it for them.”

With National Nurses Week wrapping up Sunday, Ginger Tyra — CMC director of marketing and public relations — expressed it is the ideal time to highlight Green’s contributions.

"Carmen’s sweet, caring demeanor and beautiful voice seems to calm even the most anxious patient,” Tyra said. “As we celebrate National Nurses Week, I can’t think of a more appropriate time to share the story of how Carmen connects to her patients on a personal level and demonstrates our hospital’s mission each and every day.”

Green’s talents took center stage on Easter Sunday as she transformed into the Easter Bunny Nurse. Along with her face being painted with bunny features, her ensemble consisted of a white nurse’s uniform and bunny ears.

In addition to dispersing stickers and Scripture verse cards to patients, she also provided them the opportunity to select a song for her to perform from her Easter basket. The container carried about 70 eggs, filled with song titles. 

“As Easter approached this year, reality began to come to my mind that this would be the first year that neither child would be home to celebrate this wonderful Easter season,” she said. “It is one of my most favorite times of the year, and though this is absolutely completely about our Risen Savior, Jesus Christ, and what He did for everyone on the Cross of Calvary, we did have fun celebrating with the Easter bunny at our house.

“… I also realized that I would be working on Easter. Almost instantly, I began praying, asking the Lord, ‘What would you have me to do to celebrate Jesus while I work, especially for Easter?’ I knew it had to be a form of worship as well as fun for the patients and my colleagues. Again, almost instantly, I felt [the] Holy Spirit leading me to sing. So, the singing Easter Bunny Nurse was birthed. I talked with my supervisor to make certain that it was approved. She loved the idea.”

Primarily featuring religious songs, some of her prepared titles included “Amazing Grace,” “Glory to His Name,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “The Old Rugged Cross,” “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” and “Easter Parade.”

“The sweetest thing that occurred and blessed me that day was a precious little lady whose grandchildren came to visit and she chose an egg with ‘Amazing Grace’ in it,” Green said. “We all sang together and praised the Lord in worship and added the ‘Praise God’ verse to the song. Holy Spirit filled that room with those little ones singing; it was a savored moment in time. A great blessing to me.”

Becoming a registered nurse in 1995, Green took a more than 20-year absence from her career to help raise her two daughters, who are currently attending college. Excited to return to nursing, she is grateful the 2 North unit has welcomed her with “open arms.”

“I am very thankful that I work for an organization that allows me to embrace my faith,” she said. “As a professional nurse, it is not always about a pill or position, even preference, sometimes it is about prayer. I stand with many nurses who already incorporate seeking spiritual aspects of healing and the many who are to come. Everything that I am or even aspire to be belongs to Jesus. He is the only one who gets the praise for all of my days and any of my Easters or holidays to come.

“For me, being a servant of Christ and a nurse go hand in hand. It is never about me, my needs or wants, but rather about service. I am not perfect. I am thankful that the Lord is never looking for perfection, but rather faithfulness and availability to be used for His kingdom. Nothing that I do will ever deserve praise, it all belongs to my Savior, Jesus. He is alive. He still heals. He still forgives. He still saves.”