Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Serving as the Chief Nursing Officer at University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center, Lisa
Bushong, RN, MSN, captures memories from early in career and then reflects on how nurses
have responded in this special year.
This year, “The Year of the Nurse,” will be my 29th year in nursing. Twenty-nine years may
sound like a long time to someone new to nursing, but it has gone by very fast for me. My first nursing job was in a busy inner-city emergency department. I was raised in a very rural area of Ohio, so starting in the ED was an eye opening experience for me--but I loved it. I was the youngest nurse in the department and many of the more experienced nurses took me under their wings. One nurse named Sue often helped me with learning my new role as a nurse. Sue shared her nursing wisdom with me regarding important things like wearing lipstick. Sue would say, “a girl should always have her lips on.” I remember that she always had a tube of bright red lipstick in her pocket at the ready. Sue also taught me how to organize my time. She would say “hard work makes you a good nurse” and I remember thinking “I want to be a good nurse.” I listened to everything Sue taught me; she was an excellent mentor for me. Although I will admit I never adopted the lipstick hint, I am still terrible at putting my lips on, but I greatly appreciated the relationship I had with this exceptional nurse. Today one of my favorite sayings is “work hard and work together, and then we can all sit down and have a cup of coffee.”
My nursing career has taken me on many journeys. I have learned to care for very critical
patients, to deliver babies, to assist with surgeries. I have met some of the most wonderful
people and have been a part of their most joyful moments as well as some of the worst days of their lives. There are many patient stories that I will never forget. Nursing has been a rewarding career for me and has touched my life in many ways. Nursing has molded me into the person I am today. This year of 2020 has been a very historic one for nursing. When the pandemic started and everyone was fearful of what might happen, all I could think of was we are going to make history, and we have. During this pandemic, our nurses have learned to work 12-hour shifts wearing a mask. They have endured sore noses, sore ears and have come up with innovative ways to protect our patients and their coworkers. We have banded together and we have made it through this together. We have become a strong team even when faced with the most strenuous circumstances. Our nurses have made history!