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The most outstanding nurse I know

When the topic was first introduced regarding giving proper recognition to the most outstanding nurse I have encountered in my life, I struggled selecting just one out of a many over-achieving nurses that have impacted my career and in turn, my life. Would it be my pediatric clinical instructor that was known in the program as being the toughest but ended up being my favorite? Or would it be my preceptor at the start of my career at Children’s whom I still admire, strive to be like in my daily practice, and consider my “work mother” because of her constant support? Or perhaps my manager who always has a smile on her face, treats patients, families, and her staff with the utmost respect and concern, and pushes me to advance my career in ways I never thought feasible?

All of the above would be deserving of Most Outstanding Nurse in my mind, among many others. But truly the most influential nurse throughout my life would have to be my mother. Although I only scarcely remember her full-time hospital days due to my young age, she worked in a surgical ICU at a teaching facility in Cincinnati for years. I can remember the intrigue I had and hours spent playing with her fancy equipment that I now recognize as stethoscope and multi-colored pens. When I was carefully deliberating (or agonizing over, rather) my career path, she never pressured nor tried to influence my decision but supported me wholeheartedly and provided great advice and insight when I decided on nursing. Her stories from her work experience exciting me, prepared me, and encouraged me as I embarked on the journey through nursing school. My call log was frequently filled with outgoing calls to Momma throughout school, as she was my go-to resource when I needed a confidence boost or simply wanted to share something cool that I learned that day. To this day, her ears are always welcoming my stories, my emotions, my excitement, and hardships that I encounter throughout my own career. Her advice is always the best and always the most appreciated, and sometimes she seems to know when saying nothing at all is just what I need most.

I have said before that it takes a special type of person to be a good nurse, one who displays great empathy and dignity, respects others, and can find the joy in caring for those around them. It also takes a special person to be a great mother, and in my mother’s case, the combination goes hand in hand. She is recently embarking on the “returning to the working world” journey in an effort to share her love of life with those that truly need it. Her courage, tenacity and commitment to helping others astounds me now more than ever. I am constantly proud of my profession because of the wealth of outstanding nurses that I encounter throughout my practice, and am honored that the most outstanding nurse I know will once again have the opportunity to impact new nurses like myself.

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Nicole Lehr

Nicole Lehr is a pediatric nurse. She can be described in three adjectives: content, thankful and fortunate. All credit for the aforementioned description can be given to the love she has for her profession as an RN. She graduated from University of Florida with her Bachelor’s in Nursing and moved to Atlanta to work at the Cardiac Stepdown Unit at Children’s — her dream job.
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