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Patty O.

AWESOME OCCUPATION

Registered Nurse

FAVORITE SCRUBS

Rafaela™/Yola™

FAVORITE COLOR

Chalk Pink

Q: What do you wish people outside of healthcare knew or understood about nurses?

Q: What do you wish people outside of healthcare knew or understood about nurses?

A: What I really want to emphasize is that nurses aren’t submissive. We coordinate care. We don't just follow orders — we contribute to them and we’re very much a part of our patient's care.

PATTY O., RN
Q: What is your superpower?

Q: What is your superpower?

A: My superpower is working with all kinds of people and seeing them as human beings. I’ve been told that I’m a quiet person and that’s framed as a weakness, but listening to people, seeing them where they are, and empathizing with them is one of my greatest strengths.

Q: Can you tell us about a moment or story that reminds you why you love being a nurse?

Q: Can you tell us about a moment or story that reminds you why you love being a nurse?

A: The beautiful moments in life don't have to be so grand. The beautiful moments can be something as simple as seeing the sun come up, and for this patient who would be passing away a few hours later, but it was a beautiful thing to be able to spend that moment with him.

Q: What is your name and where do you work?

A: My name is Patty. I am an adult medical surgical ICU nurse. For the last year, I have been working in the designated covid units.

Q: What made you decide to be a nurse?

A: I think that answer is constantly evolving and has changed quite a bit for me lately. People have so many talents to give, and that can manifest itself in a lot of different ways. Some people want to create change on a large scale, and impact lives in mass numbers. I think that's amazing, but what I’ve learned about myself over the last year is that I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum.

I've learned that my talents lie in creating change on a micro scale. I love interpersonal connections and getting to meet people from all different walks of life. Having that diversity of connection and exchange of stories makes me love being a nurse.

I believe you have to surround yourself with different types of people to become a better version of yourself so that you’re not stuck in the same mindset. Being challenged by other people, even patients when we have difficult exchanges has changed me fundamentally for the better.

Q: What does a typical day look like for you?

A: For people working night-shift, it can look a couple different ways, but overall, our sleep schedules are on the wacky side.

I typically get up in the morning around 5 or 6AM and then kind of go about my day just getting ready. I cook a few meals for the stretch of shifts, because once you start working, there's no room to do anything else. When I come home between shifts, I usually take a nap for (hopefully) a few hours around 2 or 3PM, then wake up around 5 or 6PM to get ready to work the overnight shift. I work 12-hour shifts so while people are sleeping, we’re doing our thing overnight.

Q: What do you wish people outside of healthcare knew or understood about nurses?

A: Typically in medical shows, nurses are portrayed as submissive and just taking the orders from physicians. What I really want to emphasize is that nurses aren’t submissive. We coordinate care. We don't just follow orders — we contribute to them and we’re very much a part of our patient's care.

In fact, so much of our job is actually ensuring that the patient's care is safe. Because we're at their bedside for 12 hours — sometimes weeks or months in the ICU — we get to know the patients so well that we can predict, for example, what sorts of medications they will need, what things they best respond to….those recommendations impact care in big ways.

People might look at nurses and think our job is just following orders, but we are leaders in our own right.

Q: What is your superpower?

A: My superpower is working with the patients that tend to be on the meaner side and talking with them in this very human way that allows them to understand we are a team.

I suppose a lot of people want to assert their authority, but I think my superpower is working with all kinds of people and seeing them as human beings. I’ve been told that I’m a quiet person and that’s framed as a weakness, but listening to people, seeing them where they are, and empathizing with them is one of my greatest strengths.

Q: Can you tell us about a moment or story that reminds you why you love being a nurse?

A: In ICU, a lot of our patients don't always have the best ending of life but I had this one morning I’ll never forget. I had a patient I’d been taking care of for a few months.

He’d been on a ventilator for quite some time, and after a lot of fighting on his end and trying to do all the things that modern technology can provide, he and his family decided that it was time to let him go.

I had him overnight, and they were going to extubate him the next morning. We usually turn our patients every two hours, and after months of taking care of him, I’d never seen this patient being so completely lucid.

Early that morning he was looking so much at peace. He looked at me and smiled with a little smirk because he couldn't talk. I remember turning him to face the window and I said, "Good morning. I'm about to leave, but I just wanted you to know that I'm so honored to be your nurse.”

Again, for the first time in months, I felt that he understood what I was saying and for him to see the sunrise was so beautiful. I think that those moments are just so rare, and doing those small little actions for him to be able to see the sun come up, regardless of what happens overnight is a really beautiful thing.

It just shows me that the beautiful moments in life don't have to be so grand. The beautiful moments can be something as simple as seeing the sun come up, and for this patient who would be passing away a few hours later, but it was a beautiful thing to be able to spend that moment with him.

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