“Nursing is an art.”

Those words from Florence Nightingale, who many believe to be the founder of the concept of nursing, reflect what it means to choose a career dedicated to helping people in their time of need.

According to the national Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of 2017 there are 2,906,840 people who are employed across the United States as nurses.

Simply defined, a nurse is one who cares for the sick.

However, those who perform the tasks of a nurse know that there is so much more to it.

In fact, most would argue there is no typical answer for who a nurse is and what a nurse does, as they can offer patient care in myriad ways from meeting the physical, emotional and mental health needs of an individual to ensuring a level of respect for human dignity.

At the heart of nursing are people with a heart.

Among those who proudly call themselves nurse is Missy Maertens, a registered nurse who is currently serving in that role and as branch manager for the Divine Home Care site in Redwood Falls. Maertens, who grew up in Olivia and graduated from BOLD High School, opted to pursue a degree in nursing at South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D.

“I was a PCA in high school,” said Maertens.

Being in the medical field was her desire, but when she first went to college, Maertens said she had plans to become a pharmacist. However, what she soon learned was that career did not fit her personality.

“I did not want to sit behind a counter,” said Maertens. “I wanted to have the chance to care for people. I wanted something more hands-on.”

Maertens wanted that personal interaction she found in nursing.

After beginning her career as a nurse at the Renville County Hospital in Olivia, Maertens opted to take another route and joined Divine Home Care. The family-owned program provides a variety of services for people who need it but still want to live at home.

Whether it is helping a patient as they recover from a surgery or providing services to assist someone as they manage a chronic illness, Divine Home Care nurses, such as Maertens, meet the people where they are at and provide what they need.

The Redwood Falls site is one of five branches in Minnesota, with counties in central, western and southern Minnesota being served.

Locally, the staff at Divine Home Care provides those services to patients of all ages from Granite Falls to Springfield and for people all along the Highway 212 corridor.

Yes, Maertens puts on a lot of miles each week for her job. She is glad to be able to do that, because it means those people who want to stay in their homes can do so and can still receive the services they need. Maertens emphasized the fact that Divine Home Care does not work solely with one group of people, adding the fact that they have clients who are as young as three and others who are in their 90s.

Maertens said in college she did not learn a lot about home care options, adding when she discovered more about it she knew that was where she wanted to be. Maertens has worked for Divine Home Care for the past six years and enjoys the chance she has to help people.

While Maertens said part of her role also includes providing education for people, as she is able to interact with people in their homes she is learning from them, too.

Maertens said she has developed many close bonds with people she cares for, adding in many ways they become like a second family. Having that connection with people can really make a difference and, for Maertens, that is what it means to serve as a nurse.

To learn more about Divine Home Care, visit its Web site at DivineHomeCare.com.