Jessica Lahiff

Where are you from originally?
I was born and raised In Las Vegas, Nevada (as a side note, at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, where I spent most of my career.)

What was your motivation for becoming a nurse?
I get asked why I became a nurse so much, and it is never a one word, or short answer. So I will do my best; It’s a tough job, definitely not for the weak of heart. I genuinely love people. It is so rewarding to help care for someone. I love to teach, advocate, and protect the rights and dignity of my patients, and people in general, so nursing seemed like a good fit. I can also say that no matter where I go, nurses are always needed and there is security in that.

How long have you been a nurse?
I became a nurse 16 years ago, 2005.

Tell us your thoughts about the Covid-19 pandemic and how it affected you, your family and friends?
When COVID hit, the negatives clearly outweighed the positives, not only in nursing but in everyday life. There was so much chaos between working in a hospital and trying to keep my family safe. So much fear. In some ways I feel like the pandemic slowed us down a bit, made us pay attention to our families and realize what was important, but in others I feel like it changed people in negative ways. I don’t know anyone who wasn’t affected by COVID in some form. The saddest part for me to see was the loss of human connection and the devastation it caused families. Slowly, we seem to be reconnecting, and that gives hope and strength.

What’s the most rewarding momment/s you’ve had in your career?
Honestly, it may sound cliche’ but I try to find a small moment from everyday that I may have positively impacted someone, or their family. As said before, it’s a tough job, those small
moments are what keep me going.

What’s the best incentive for you to go above and beyond the call of duty at work?
I think the best incentive to go above and beyond your duties is seeing patients progress, their successes feel like mine. Seeing a smile from a joke you made or a hug you gave, or even from
just showing compassion. Positive impact, if I know that I am helping someone, I am driven, I am driven to do better, and it fuels me to keep the momentum going.

How do you decompress after a difficult day?
Besides wine, TOTALLY KIDDING!!! I try to celebrate my successes no matter how small or large. Take deep breaths. There are some days that I just have to step back and realize that I too am human and need to take care of myself. When I am able to hangout with my family and, spend time at the lake, it usually helps me decompress.

What do you do outside of work that makes you a better nurse?
Outside of work, I am a mom and wife. Everyday takes patience, caring, loving, understanding, gentle hands and a warm heart. Because of these things, I believe I am a better nurse. I volunteer as a medical consultant for F.R.E.E. International, a leading non-profit organization fighting for the abolishment of human slavery and trafficking. I believe volunteer work keeps you grounded and also having passion in something keeps you compassionate (a must have in nursing).

How is nursing different than you thought it would be? What is, in your opinion, the most important affect you have had on people’s lives?
*I don’t really know if I knew what I was getting into with this career. I don’t think I would have ever been able to understand hearing a mother sobbing outside of a code room after just being told her 2 year old died, then walking into another with a smile on your face because the patient in the next room needs your best and that warm smile. I don’t think I knew my own strength as an individual. To me, being a nurse means that you know that you made a difference in someone’s lives, no matter how big or small.