I would have never imagined that one year into being back in the beautiful pacific NW I’d pack my bags and head to #Texas. Yes, #Houston that is. I’ve spent the last ten years building teams and helping members of the health care teams that I’ve been with find their niche in their careers. I’ve enjoyed every bit of the mentoring relationship that I’ve developed and the networks that I’ve built. Over time, I’ve also come to learn what it is that makes me most passionate about my career and my ability to influence change, behavior, patient care delivery and outcomes. Therefore, I’ve accepted a Division Director position in Texas doing work that I know I will love for years to come. I’m so excited about this opportunity and I never thought there would be much to excite me about Texas being the Sooner that I am.
But I also would like to talk briefly about what I’m leaving behind in Vancouver/Portland. I have had the privilege to work at an academic medical center with some of the most brilliant bedside nurses I’ve ever come across. Managing the float pool has opened my eyes to the inpatient world beyond women’s health. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll always be an OB nurse at heart, but I must say, the work that my colleagues do at the bedside in acute care, critical care and pediatrics is something to admire. In uncertain times and times of change, they show up everyday and deliver impeccable care while focusing their energy on everyone but themselves.
#Nursing is a selfless profession that deserves so much more praise and recognition than it gets. As nurses, we are healthcare, we are healing, we are the backbone of this healthcare system and I’m so honored to have worked along side so many fantastic nurses throughout my career: Maggie, Angie, Christie, Ellen, Susan C., Jackie, Kirk, Willesha, Jazelle, Dana and so many more. I could go on…Look, my career has been so rewarding. I’m just taking a moment to reflect.
Another note, unless you’re in my inner circle, I don’t talk much about race. Coming from abroad, the Middle East to be exact (which is full of caring and compassionate people) into my country in the current climate has been quite an adjustment for me. Being part of the less than 10% African American population in a 76% Caucasian population, has never felt so isolating. Being the only African American nurse leader in an organization of nearly 16,000 has never been so blaringly obvious. I’ve managed to adjust my blackness over time as to not stand out in the crowd, but it’s been difficult lately. And I want to tell everyone how much it breaks my heart to realize what my leaving this organization means to so many other people of color. The weight is heavy and I honestly didn’t realize what it meant to these wonderful people who show up every day and see “someone who looks like me” in a position of leadership. They told me I have given them hope that they too can get to where I am. It’s also been rewarding for me to finally seek out the other black women at the organization and was both astonished and thrilled to meet them. Since they are so few, they may go unrecognized (all African American women): faculty in neurology, researchers, attorneys, compliance officers, etc. We all discussed the weight of often times being the only one. We all continue to elevate those around us and help make connections for those who look like us and may not otherwise make those connections. I am humbled by the recognition and while I have always known being in a leadership role means I’m always on stage, I’ve been in the spotlight on a stage I didn’t realize I was on. I’m thankful that I represented us well during my short stint. The impact was broader than I ever knew. I hope my light continues to shine bright on this new journey.
Need a book to read? Try – Life’s Little Detour