<p>Former President Jimmy Carter on Thursday praised nurses as "the epitome of the highest level of moral values" for their dedication to others.</p><p>Carter spoke to about 100 Emory University nursing students, detailing the impact his mother, Lillian, made as a nurse and the impact the students could make in health care in Georgia and abroad.</p><p>Emory's Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing is named after her, and school officials said Carter toured the center for the first time on Thursday.</p><p>"There is no difference, in my opinion, to a person who has the highest possible commitment to human moral values than a nurse," Carter said. "I think they're the same."</p><p>He said his mother became a registered nurse in 1923 and always worked to serve those in need and that he grew up "totally surrounded by nurses."</p><p>"She and the doctors were the epitome of Plains society _ they were admired and revered. They worked incredibly long hours," he said.</p><p>Nurses must have the same medical knowledge as doctors, the ability to learn new things and the willingness to work with people different from themselves, Carter said.</p><p>In addition, they must be willing to forego "an enormous income" in order to serve others, he added.</p><p>The former president pledged to help bring students' concerns about having Georgia do more to retain trained nurses in the state by discussing the issue with Gov. Sonny Perdue and top lawmakers.</p><p>Carter urged the 100 nursing students present at the session to consider possible service abroad, helping people in other countries. He said his mother's service in the Peace Corps as a nurse when she was 70 years old "was one of the most glorious experiences of her life."</p><p>The former president also encouraged students to learn more about Mali, which both the Carter Center and Emory University have pledged to assist. The 12 million people in the northwest Africa country live on less than $2 a day and have difficulties affording health care and education, Carter said.</p><p>___</p><p>On the Net:</p><p>HASH(0x2865154)</p><p>HASH(0x1b5f8e4)</p>
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