About twenty years ago, I happened upon the most rewarding experience of my career as an IONM clinician. It all began when I went to monitor a nervous 17-year-old girl’s scoliosis case at a children’s hospital in Indianapolis. Before the surgery, I visited the patient and her parents in the pre-op area. The connection was immediate. As I informed them of my role and answered all the questions they had about neuromonitoring, I realized the difference I could make before I even began to perform my job. Years later, I realized my impact was greater than I could have ever imagined.
On the morning of the surgery, I began to feel the effect that my presence could have on patients. As I spent more time than usual with the girl, relieving her every concern, we bonded. Her family was also visibly put at ease, knowing that I would be in the operating room monitoring the functional integrity of their daughter’s spinal cord so that she woke up without injury. They later came to tell me that when they experienced my care, empathy and passion for my job, they took great comfort and knew that I would do my best to keep their daughter safe.
The surgery was long but successful. After I completed my monitoring responsibilities, I reassured the family that everything had gone well. Afterwards, I visited the girl in both the ICU and the step-down unit any time I had an opportunity. I became more than her clinician. We became friends and continued to stay in touch even after she fully recovered. At that time, she was approaching her high school graduation and had just begun to consider the career path she would follow.
Fast forward four years. I receive a call from the same nervous girl I befriended. She had decided to pursue a career in neurodiagnostics because of the role I played in her surgery. She became the first of five women I have inspired to enter the field. Today, she is married with two children and continues to be successful in the industry.
This story is one of the many reasons why I love caring for patients. When I first met this nervous 17-year-old girl, I had no idea that I would one day grow to have such a significant impact on her life and that the experience came to shape her future.
Regional Manager, Business Development and Education