Hospital Impact: Don't lose sight of what inspired your career in healthcare

In healthcare and in many fields, it is easy to lose sight of your “why” and what inspired you to pursue a career or certain job.
Scott Kashman headshot
Scott Kashman

I’ve been in healthcare leadership since the early 1990s. Prior to going into the world of leadership, I served as a psychiatric counselor for five years. I was drawn to healthcare after helping a friend through a time of depression and his serious suicide threat. The situation helped shape my career interest, wanting to help others and ultimately pursue a career as a psychologist.

Well, as time went on I decided to pursue a career in healthcare management, enjoying both the business and clinical aspects of healthcare.

Fast-forward many years, I was reminded of the need to never lose sight of why I chose healthcare.

I was working in a hospital when a wife was there with her husband. For sake of the confidentiality, I’ll reference her as Jillian and her husband, Joseph. He had terminal cancer and his two kids and Jillian were by his hospital bedside. He was in lots of pain and Jillian had asked the nurse for medication to relieve the pain. After the nurse said she was very busy and acted quite irritated by the request, Jillian contacted Joseph’s physician directly. The physician called the unit and asked the nurse to provide the pain relief, which of course added more tension to this situation.

The nurse came in, provided the medication and stormed out of the room. Jillian followed the nurse and said, “My husband Joseph is dying and will not be with us within hours and at the most a couple of days. We have come to grips with this. We are sharing stories of how we love him and how he filled our lives. Unfortunately, over the past few hours, our stories have turned to you and how you have treated us. We have stopped celebrating Joseph and started sharing our concerns with you. It was adding more stress on us, including stress on Joseph.”

The nurse asked if they would like a different nurse. Jillian paused and asked, “Could you please let me what inspired you to be a nurse?” The nurse began to tear up and share how she just wanted to help others in need and knew she would love nursing, as it’s a career where you help so many patients and family members every day in your own community.

Jillian shared with the nurse, “I do not want to have a different nurse tonight. We want the nurse you were inspired to be when you pursued this career. Could you please be that nurse for us tonight?”

Well, you could imagine that the nurse was amazing from there on out.

You see, in healthcare and in many fields, it is easy to lose sight of your “why” and what inspired you to pursue a career or certain job. We often get caught up in the daily grind and forget that our pursuit of our career may have been inspired by the love of the field or the fact it provides a livelihood. It may allow you the opportunity to provide for your family, enjoy travel or some extracurricular hobbies.

Whatever inspired you, give it some thought from time to time. It makes it easier to get through those days where the tasks could get the best of you.

Quite often, I still think of my friend who needed help many years ago. We still stay connected today and I never lose sight that through his experience, it helped me pursue helping others in healthcare.

What inspired you to pursue your career or job?

Scott Kashman is the chief acute care officer of Lee Health. He previously served as chief administrative officer of Cape Coral Hospital in Southwest Florida.