YON 2020 Day 274: Greer Wagner, MBA, MSN, RN

The pandemic affected Greer Wagner, MBA, MSN, RN, and her team in ways she couldn’t anticipate. Currently the Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department at UH Samaritan Medical Center, she recalls the challenges that she faced and shares what she learned in the process.

In reflecting on the Year of the Nurse, I never thought the impact would be as significant as it has been. This unprecedented year of COVID has re-routed my career path. As the nurse manager of two freestanding emergency departments, I would never have thought that both of my departments would temporarily close, and that all of us, including myself, would be re-assigned within the system. I kept thinking--how does an emergency department close during a health pandemic?

April was a time that weighed heavily on my team. Filtering through the emotional aspect of the changes were challenging. As their leader, I felt as though I had let them down in some fashion. While the situation was not due to any fault of my own, I felt the weight of their worlds on my shoulders. I absolutely loved my team! We had worked so hard to get to the level we had achieved. It was hard to see it fall apart.

Every part of those few months was difficult, but my resilience kept building. As I swam through the daily ebb and flows of this new situation I found myself in, I stopped to ask myself two things: What was important to me for my next professional step, and why did I choose this pathway?

My conclusion was absolute. I became a nurse to make a difference, and the emergency department world was my ball of wax. I chose to follow this particular nursing leadership pathway because I’m passionate about what I do! I love being who I am in this role, and I decided that I wasn’t going to let anyone or anything (even COVID) hold me back in following my “dream” pathway. I was fortunate to have had rock-solid leadership mentors, who helped “unlock” my potential and who are the reasons why I am the leader that I am today!

This year has taught me so much about myself, what’s important to me, and my purpose. I’m fortunate to have found myself in a new leadership role, to continue to grow as a nurse leader, and to strive for greater heights with my new team! The “Year of the Nurse” yields strength and resilience in my story. If your passion is true, then you can live it!

The old saying is true: “After every great storm comes a rainbow.” I can say that after everything this year has shown, I’ve found mine!

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