Markela Lacey, LVN started her nursing career in April of 2021. Although she is just starting her nursing journey, she is already learning valuable lessons from the people around her. “One of the biggest lessons I have learned so far is to never miss out on an opportunity to learn something new whether that be from a fellow nurse or a client or from anybody you cross paths with – take that opportunity and grab it…”
Lacey was recently named the Winter 2021 Recipient of the coveted Melissa A. Fischer Nursing Award.
IN THIS ARTICLE
How long have you been a nurse and when did you know this was the career path for you?
I’ve been a nurse since April 2021. Growing up, I wanted to either be a nurse, doctor, or lawyer. I went back and forth then eventually decided to pursue nursing.
What specific lessons have you learned from being a nurse?
I’ve learned a lot of lessons. One of the biggest lessons I have learned so far is to never miss out on an opportunity to learn something new, whether that be from a fellow nurse or a client or with anybody you cross paths with—take that opportunity and grab it!
What was your first work experience as a nurse?
I was working at an assisted living facility (before I received my license) and worked there as a memory care assistant. Once I got my nurse license I then transitioned over to working in the assisted living department. I must say, at first I started out liking it but then by the time I was alone on the floor I ended up hating it [she says with a laugh]. It made me realize that I strongly dislike working in skilled nursing facilities.
The Joys of Nursing
What’s your favorite part of being a nurse?
Meeting new clients—I really enjoy working with our hospice clients. When I start to see their condition start to improve and the doctors decide to take them off of hospice, I think that in and of itself is very worthwhile for me. Recently, I had a family member of a patient reach out asking for me to come back and work with them again because they enjoyed and appreciated how I treated their family. That for me lets me know that I am doing my job right.
What makes you smile at work?
Just getting a simple thank you—family members telling me ‘thank you so much for helping my mom or my dad’ or whoever it may be…they say, ‘you’ve been so helpful, you’ve made this so much easier.’ Those things mean the most because those are the things where there is no amount of money you can put on somebody appreciating your work and what you do for them.
Self-Care for Nurses
Favorite ways to relax on your days off?
Shopping! Online shopping, Amazon. Spending time with my family. We’re in the habit now where we try and take a family vacation every 3 months. Something where we can spend quality time because our day to day is so hectic. We went to Disneyland recently—it was my first time! Our next trip may be during Spring Break—we would love to go to Hawaii.
Taking Time to Reflect
What life lessons or inspiration have you gathered from nursing?
My biggest inspiration with nursing in general has been my older sister. I watched her go through her journey with nursing school so she has been there for me every step of the way, from applying to nursing schools to present day. She is one of the smartest people I know. I always love running things by her – having that constant person who I can bounce ideas off of and get her feedback. I’m still new and I’m still learning so it’s good to have that person I can run these ideas off of.
What is your most treasured memory as a nurse?
I haven’t had one particular treasured memory yet however each day I am working as a nurse I truly value that experience. Even being in nursing school as a student, going to school with COVID happening and seeing patients with COVID who are unable to have their family visit them. I wanted to make sure I gave them some sort of enjoyment and comfort when I cared for them with simple things. Even if it’s just talking to them or listening to patients sharing their past memories – that is nice because I know I’ve built up rapport and created some type of trust between myself and them.
What advice do you give to nurses starting out?
Find your niche – find what makes you happy. There are so many different career paths that you can take as a nurse so at the end of the day, just find what makes you happy.