Celebrating Louisiana Heroes: Meet Ochsner Nurse Amy Finnegan

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First responders are putting their lives on the line everyday during the coronavirus pandemic.

EMS, police, doctors and nurses are just some of the people who deserve recognition for their sacrifices.

Today we celebrate one of those people, Oshsner RN Amy Finnegan.

If you have time, make sure to stop and say thank you to our first responders during this trying time. Amy is just one of many who are giving to those in need every day.

Here is Amy’s story courtesy of Ochsner Health:

“For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to be a nurse. The absolute certainty for me was when I watched my mom walk down the aisle at St. Joseph’s church as a nursing grad when I was 9 years. I was so proud of her. I thought she was a true superhero.
Flash forward to me being older. She was an ICU nurse for 15 years. I saw the exhaustion. I saw the care she took to keep my sister and I safe after a long shift of dealing with many transmittable diseases. I saw the worry on her face when she wondered if she did enough. I saw all of the emotions and knew that she was the strongest person I knew.
My journey of nursing was extremely long with many battles ahead. I was in college for Katrina. I watched my great-grandmother, who was my best friend, pass away. I gave birth to two beautiful babies; one in the first week of nursing school, and one on the day of pinning, just 15 months apart. I went through LPN school, then continued for my RN. I even started my first RN journey right alongside my mom in the ICU and continue to work collaboratively with her.
No matter what the obstacle was, I persevered. I wanted those initials behind my name that badly. I knew that it was my calling to be a nurse. Nursing to me was a different role than what we are facing today.
I thought nursing was talking to strangers. I thought it was being a voice for someone who didn’t have one. I thought it was feeding someone who couldn’t feed themself. I thought that it was all about my patient and their families. I thought that it was holding the hand of someone when they took their last breath and letting them know that it’s okay and they aren’t alone. I thought that it was hugging the families so tightly when they lost their loved one while they thanked me and said they’d never forget the care they witnessed. I thought that it was seeing someone come into the hospital with a serious stroke and hearing that they will never recover. Then you see the patient respond in coming days and beams of hope spark between caregivers and you tell the family that it’s not over; don’t give up.
I thought that nursing was hard. I thought that after my 12-hour shift that I had given all that I had to strangers and sometimes I had nothing left to give to my family. It can become draining. It’s a job that is emotionally, physically, and spiritually exhausting. In a pre-COVID world, this is what I thought of nursing.
Now I know that nursing is more than that. It is showing up to be there for your coworkers and your team. It’s putting on a different suit of armor of PPE. It’s becoming the best teammate with a complete stranger nurse who is next to you and doing whatever it takes to get through that day. It’s doing laps on your hall to make sure everyone is okay. It’s forming a bond with the doctors, respiratory therapists, CNAs, NPs, PAs, and every other component of the health care team to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to treat and prevent the spread of an unknown new disease. It’s critical thinking in ways I never thought that could be done. It’s holding up signs in a window to your teammate while everyone works together to get you what you need. It’s watching trends and knowing exactly what’s going to happen while you and your team anticipate the next move together. It’s putting on goggles and masks and shields and taking time to gear up so that we can go in and take care of someone with safety and care. It’s the perfect blend of compassion, dedication, and bravery of every person in the team working together with the same goal.
We show up every shift and pick up additional shifts because of the guilt we are feeling not only towards our patients, but to our coworkers – our family. We do not want them to battle alone. We are a team. We are a family. We are all in this together.
With every curveball this virus throws our way, we’ll continue to use our strength, our minds, our collaboration, and our innovation to keep pushing through for the sake of the sick. This is what we do. This is what we are all called to do.
So here’s to the year of the nurse. 2020 has given us armor and made us superheroes. And when we win this battle, we will celebrate together. But for now, everyone stay home while the heroes of healthcare save the world. We’re all in this together. #OchsnerHeroes

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