Life, travel nursing and doing what is “RIGHT.”

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July 27th, 2017…

It was the first day I stepped foot into the office of Atlas Medstaff as the newest member of the sales team.

I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a whole new world for me. I had never worked in an office before. Heck, I hadn’t had a boss since my fry cutting days at In N Out Burger when I was a 16 year old kid just trying to earn some money to buy myself a car.

Seriously, I remember the day so well because of 4 words that I heard spoken to me by our president Steve Ryan, that would set the tone for my new career in a foreign field. I was sitting with Jamie and Diane talking over people management platforms and best practices for finding viable prospects, when Steve walked into the room and said these 4 words…

“Do the right thing.”

That’s it. That’s all he said. Just, “Do the right thing.”

For nurses, for co workers, for your friends and for your family.

You know what he didn’t say?

“Do the right thing for YOU.”

It has been a little over a year since that fateful day. I do not claim to know everything, in fact, I am fairly confident I have still barely scraped the surface of what there is to know about this new world I am living in, But…

What I do know is that it never pays to look out for your own interests at the expense of others.

I have spoken to a lot of people. On my side (agency), and on the nurses side. One conclusion haunts me. This entire industries foundation has the words,

“I just have to do what’s right for me,” etched into it’s mortar.

I hear it every day. From recruiters and account managers. From nurses, from hospital administration, HR, payroll, compliance, and the list goes on and on. It is not always spoken so plainly, but it is so often expressed in action, and in attitude.

Most of the time, this phrase is used to justify behavior that is clearly hurting someone else, but because that behavior makes life more comfortable for the person doing it, it is justified by this simple and difficult to argue with phrase…

“I just have to do what’s right for me.”

Sounds good right? Who could argue? Self care is a good thing isn’t it? If you don’t take care of you, how can you take care of others? While I don’t disagree with that sentiment, what is swirling in my head tonight is the toxic culture that is naturally built around an ideal that says, doing what is best for me is ok, no matter what the cost to someone else. Here’s my proposition tonight…

“If you have to use the phrase, “I just have to do what’s RIGHT FOR ME, to justify your actions, those actions may not be RIGHT, at all.”

Sorry if you have used that phrase recently. My goal is not to offend you, or push you away. If you know me at all, you know I love you. I just have this incessant desire to see people do things better. Especially people I care about.

When Steve Ryan said those words to me over a year ago today, I heard something different. I heard…

Do whats RIGHT, not because someone deserves it, but because it’s right.
Do what’s RIGHT, even if it isn’t profitable. (I have heard him say this before actually)
Do what’s right because because people matter more than money.
Do what’s right because at the end of the day, your integrity is all you have.

I have a friend in this industry that embodies for me what it means to do what is right, not because it benefits you, but because it is actually what is RIGHT.

This industry has chewed her up and spit her out. It has taken everything she has offered that is good and said it has no value. It has relegated her to the bench, even though she has more to offer in her pinky finger than most of the people that make it go.

Here’s the thing… she keeps doing what’s right, even when almost everyone else is doing what’s wrong.

She advocates for those who have no voice.
She helps, when she has nothing to gain.
She believes in people that have long since worn out their welcome.
She just seems to always do the RIGHT thing, and with nothing to benefit for herself.

In my short stint in this world I have become convinced of one thing. This industry, with all the money there is to make, on all sides, is spiraling toward it’s demise. The only ones keeping it afloat are the ones who are willing to acknowledge it’s not all about winning, or getting rich. Doing the right thing at times is going to mean sacrifice, loss, even hardship, but it is worth doing because people matter most, and a short second is our integrity as human beings.

I am crazy enough to believe that if we start choosing to do what’s right, instead of always doing whats right for “ME,” this industry would be a better place for everyone. probably even make everyone more money!

Regardless, my commitment is, to every day, wake up and do what’s RIGHT. Like Steve Ryan, my boss and president of Atlas Medstaff told me that fateful day.

Do. What. Is. Right.

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