Friends and critical care nurses Shelby Lash and Joseph Falise both lost their fathers at young ages, which left lasting impacts that motivated each of them to enter the field of nursing. In this candid and emotional conversation, Shelby and Joseph open up about the desire to help others after losing someone so close.
The best nurses were the ones that had a calling, and they knew from the time they were little that they wanted to go into nursing, and that was not the case for me. When I was 25 years old, my father was dead on arrival to our county hospital. The treatment that I received there, I was so overwhelmed by the compassion and the support, in that particular moment. I said, "You know what? I'm going to take myself to nursing school, and I want to be that person for other people." In less than five years I took myself to college, and I became a nurse in that ED. I worked critical care for two years, where I met my husband, and I've done ICU and ER, and various other things for the last 28 years. What about you?
My father died when I was seven. He died of a cardiac disease, and the fact that I'm a cardiac ICU, and a cardiac surgical nurse, I think does have something to do with the fact that my dad died of a cardiac disease. In fact, the true validation for that, for me is about five years after I became an ICU nurse, I was at my mom's house and she said, "Hey, I was going through some old documents down in the basement, and I found some old documents of your father. If you want to go look at them, if there's anything you want to keep, feel free."
So I started looking through things, and what I found was the emergency room records from when my father went to the emergency room, after his heart attack, when they were trying to resuscitate him. And the physician put in a temporary pacemaker, to try and get his heart to start again. The shocking part here is when I saw the signature of the doctor who put the pacemaker in, I currently worked with that same doctor.
I took that document to work the next day, and I showed it to the doctor and I said, "You're not going to believe this." At this point he and I had become friends. We'd worked together for five years. "My father came in a long time ago as a cardiac arrest in the ER, and you are the one that tried to resuscitate him." It was definitely a moment that he and I shared.
So that's the validation that cardiac nursing is where I should be.
We would like to get more men interested in the profession. As you know, I'm married to a male nurse.
I think that the physicians treated him, in some ways, differently than they did some of their female counterparts.
My direct supervisor right now is a female and she's very good at what she does. She's executive in every sense of the word. But, when her and I are having a conversation in front of a male physician, I'm very well aware that a lot of the conversation from that physician will head in my direction, and they will look at me more than they will look at her.
We've been in a meeting before where there's a table full of six or seven female nursing leaders, and I'll walk in the room and I'll sit down and all of a sudden the conversation is in my direction. And it's actually a little bit awkward and uncomfortable for me, because I recognize it.
I appreciate your friendship and your professionalism. So good luck with all you do, Joe.
No. Thank you.
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