A Calling, Not a Career – For Most Nurses, It Takes Just One Patient to Confirm Their Career Choice

Mandy Lyons, RN, Memorial Medical Center, Intensive Care Unit

Many say that choosing a career in nursing is more like a calling. It takes a special person to be a great nurse, and each has a story from their early days as a new nurse that confirmed for them that they were indeed in the right profession.

Mandy Lyons, a registered nurse in Memorial’s 2C intensive care unit who began her career 11 years ago, recalls one of her first patients, who validated her career choice:

While a new grad working in the Emergency Department of another hospital, a young mother brought her limp 6-month-old boy to the triage unit. The baby looked lifeless, and I feared it was a grim situation.

I rushed the baby back to a room and yelled for a doctor. I could see how helpless that young mother felt as the ER team was working to revive the boy. The mother cried and prayed that her son would be OK. She looked worn down, her clothes had holes in them, her hair was matted, but her baby boy was perfectly clothed. I could tell she put her son before herself.

Upon examination, and many tests later, the doctors noticed the baby’s electrolytes were abnormal. While I began to comfort the mother, she explained that she was diluting the baby’s formula to make it last longer due to financial difficulties. We spoke of ways we could assist her, and I listened to her fears.  Hours later, the baby was stabilized and transferred to the Pedi ICU.

I often thought about that baby and his mother. Approximately 6 months later, I saw the mother and boy while shopping. He was a playful, healthy, energetic young boy. She recognized me and told me what a difference the nursing staff made in her life. The satisfaction I felt knowing how much I helped that new mom and baby was overwhelming. That feeling validated my love of my nursing career.

Today I work in the adult ICU at Memorial, and almost every day since I began in 2008, I am overwhelmed by the compassion I see the nursing staff deliver. The satisfaction of helping the sick and injured is a passion of mine. There are many stories I could share that keep my love of nursing alive, However, this is one of my first patient experiences I will never forget.