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A Caregiver Who Cares

US Navy, Public Domain

She’s neither a business executive nor a community leader. You won’t read about her in the papers, she’s done nothing for “the masses,” and it’s unlikely that she’ll ever receive any type of public award. But five days a week, in her own small and quiet way, she makes a big difference for the people she touches. Her name is Lucy. And she is-as she’s so proud to say, even after twenty-five years-a NURSE.

Nurse Lucy works day shift in Postpartum-the place where new mothers are cared for after giving birth to their truly special miracles. And those patients who-by luck of the morning assignments-have her as their nurse, are in for large doses of the one medication she’s allowed to prescribe: TLC.

If you could peek at the scores of thank-you letters and commendations in her personnel folder, you’d know that Lucy is from “the old school.” She believes that providing the absolute best patient care possible is the only real agenda. As a result, she has (by her own admission) had some difficulty adjusting to today’s cost-cutting “business approach” to healthcare. More patients per nurse, increased documentation, limited (read non-existent) overtime, belt-tightening restrictions on the use of supplies, and a never-ending barrage of new regulatory-driven policies and procedures are just a few of her professional realities-ones that could interfere with tending to her new mothers if she’d let them. But she doesn’t.

Lucy understands that nursing is about taking care of people. As a result, she somehow always finds the time to remake a bed (for the third time) so a patient will be a just little more comfortable, or make someone’s day with a sponge bath and back massage, or have a comforting chat with an anxious new mom, or hunt up a treat for a hungry visiting dad-even if it means occasionally cutting into her own lunch time to do it. “I know that hospitals can be scary and expensive places,” she told me. “I justtry to help my ladies have a positive experience… and get their money’s worth.”38

The behavior of this difference maker is guided by three simple principles that seem applicable to anyone-regardless of their occupation or industry:


  • Despite any challenges you may be facing, never lose sight of your ultimate purpose-the real reason your job exists.
  • Strike a balance, but occasionally be willing to put the needs of those you serve before your own.
  • Pay attention to the little things-the random acts of kindness that add up and mean so much to those on the receiving end.

That’s what she does; that’s how she creates so many magical moments for those she truly cares for.

Yes, her name is Lucy. And she is-as I’m so proud to say, even after twenty-eight years of marriage-my wife.

Steve Ventura is an author, educator, and training program designer. His books include Walk Awhile In MY Shoes, Forget For Success, Start Right… Stay Right, and Who Are THEY Anyway, co-authored with BJ Gallagher.