Every nurse has their own special story to tell. The GIFTED Spotlight series aims to share the stories of the amazing nurses we serve.
We recently interviewed Linda Morrow, a GIFTED Nurse with a career spanning three decades. Linda recently retired from the bedside after 31 years as a nurse, and we took some time to discuss her inspirations, her time with GIFTED, and the things she loved about being a bedside nurse.
Read on to learn about Linda Morrow’s story in our latest GIFTED Spotlight!
Long before she became a nurse, Linda Morrow was a schoolteacher. Originally from Indiana, Linda has moved around quite a bit – she taught school in Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee, and “ended up in Forest Hill, Louisiana.” She comes from a long line of nurses who were educators before they came to the bedside.
“I was a teacher for 9 years before I ever thought about being a nurse,” said Linda. “But so were Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton, so that’s nothing new.”
As long as she could remember, Linda had looked up to nurses. She always admired the service they provided for the world. But actually becoming one didn’t occur to her until she got her Master’s degree in Elementary Education.
“It seemed like a goal I could never reach,” Linda said. “But as I was getting my Master’s, they told us that we should have a plan for retirement. So I decided to start taking some classes.”
As Linda began her nursing education, she performed well and enjoyed the material. Then, she endured two tragedies – a former student of hers and a coworker both died in car accidents. These were very important and difficult events for Linda, and they provided her with the inspiration to pursue nursing full-time, so that she could help others in a more hands-on way.
“I just kept thinking about how I could have been there to help more, and decided to change my route and go to nursing school,” she said.
Becoming a Nurse
Linda enrolled in nursing school at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. When she became a Registered Nurse, Linda gravitated toward specialties with patients at critical points in their lives. First she tried ICU nursing, but soon found her calling in Oncology, where she spent nearly 20 years of her career.
Linda recalled her time caring for cancer patients as some of the most memorable and important moments of her nursing career. She began in MedSurg Oncology and moved into the Myelosupression Unit, where she provided care for patients undergoing chemotherapy.
“I learned so much from the cancer patients,” she said. “I cherished that time – the things I learned from the patients and the family members, I don’t think you can get in any other field of nursing.”
Linda was amazed by the way her cancer patients valued each and every moment.
“Cancer patients value life. There’s no guarantee for any of us to have another breath, and they know this. Other people don’t necessarily know this.”
Linda deeply valued the unique responsibilities she had as a caretaker of her patients during the most vulnerable and anxiety-ridden days of their lives.
“There’s the beginning of a cancer diagnosis, which is a corner you turn and can’t return from,” Linda said. “And there’s also the end of a cancer diagnosis, which is the end of a life. But then there’s that middle part of cancer, where your family and friends have to go back to work, and you try to go back to your normal life. But there’s always something in the back of your head, that you have cancer. And I think this is where the nurses on an oncology floor shine, because when all the visitors are gone and the lights are turned out, that’s when a patient deals with their fears, and that’s a very important moment for nurses to shine.”
Linda clearly felt honored to share these very intimate moments with her patients, and to comfort them while sharing their most private fears and concerns. She says that these memories are her most cherished.
Also, as the daughter of a preacher, Linda’s faith has always been at the center of her life.
“I always try to make Jesus be the center of how I treat other people,” she said. “It’s always a growing process, of course, but it’s the only way I could have got through these 30 years [as a nurse].”
Night Shift Nursing
Linda’s long and successful nursing career was spent almost entirely working the night shift, and we took the opportunity to ask her: what’s unique about night shift nursing?
“Unknown to some day shift people, patients do not sleep at night,” she laughed. “And they do not stay in bed. And they wake up thinking they can make it to the bathroom, and they’re attached to everything.”
Linda then proceeded to elaborate on some patients’ fear and uncertainty that can be caused by the isolation of a hospital room.
“But there’s also just that fear,” Linda said. “In the middle of the night, you just don’t have the distractions that you have in the daytime, and even if you have strong faith or a good diagnosis, you’re faced with so many worries. If you’re elderly, you could be confused about where you are – night nurses should remember that.”
Nursing with GIFTED Healthcare
When we asked Linda about her time with GIFTED Healthcare, she immediately responded, “GIFTED’s been good to me!”
Linda has been a GIFTED MedSurg RN for almost 7 years, and she says she has a learned a lot throughout the process.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” she said. “It’s a different kind of nursing and it’s also challenging. But I learned so much, and I’ve learned a lot about different kinds of patients, and also that there are so many similarities between every hospital.”
So, does Linda have any veteran tips for agency nurses?
“What’s really important in one hospital may not be important in another hospital, so you should learn the protocol,” said Linda. “Try to go with the flow, but keep your own integrity – do what you know is right.”
The Ideal Nurse
Whenever we interview an RN, we always ask them to describe the qualities of the ideal nurse. Each answer is unique and fascinating, and often shows how thoughtful, compassionate, and conscientious all nurses must be to do their jobs well.
Linda’s vision of the ideal nurse is someone who thinks clearly, maintains their integrity, and displays compassion
“You have to realize you don’t cause the history of the patient. You can’t take everything personally, and you just have to do the best that you can do. You have to be forgiving. You’ve got to have a hard shell when patients and families get upset with you about things you have no control over. And I think a good nurse needs to have an outside channel outside of the hospital, to find fun. Outside of the hospital, you need to have someone who will listen to you.
A good nurse can’t forget that their patients are people. You have to deal with the heart and spirit as much as anything else.”
GIFTED Is Proud To Support Nurses Like Linda Morrow
Linda currently lives in Oakdale, Louisiana, where she plans to remain in retirement, providing care for her elderly father.
We are honored to call Linda Morrow a GIFTED Nurse. Her nursing journey is an inspiration to us, and we wish her nothing but the very best in her retirement after an incredible 31 years of nursing.
Thank you for being GIFTED, Linda!
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