Whose heart have you touched lately with words of affirmation? Do you know whose life your actions and words have touched through the years? It is sometimes easier to remember the problems we have had in relationships, and not be aware of the blessings we have been a part of bestowing on others, and they on us. I have been blessed recently by the words and actions of two people in particular and have been touched beyond words by their kindness in sharing those with me and others at the Great 100 Nurses event held Saturday night, October 8, 2022, at the Greenville, NC Convention Center. My heart is so full I need to share this with you, and the lessons this has reaffirmed for me.
In the late 1980’s I was privileged to be a part of forming the NC Great 100 Nurses. At that time, I was VP of Nursing and Special Services at Rex Hospital. Heather Thorne, Director of the new cardiovascular service at Rex, brought the idea of forming the NC Great 100 Nurses to me, having experience with a similar organization in Louisiana. It was a wonderful idea, so of course, I put my full support behind it. I became the first chair of the steering committee. The inaugural event was in 1989 and the organization is still going strong this many years later.
My career focus changed in 1993 when I left Healthcare and started my own Speaking, Consulting, and Coaching business, The Fralix Group. Heather Thorne and I were both at the 25th anniversary of the NC Great 100 Nurses celebration. That was my last experience with the organization and the events until the most recent event on October 8th. 100 nurses were honored for 2022, as well as others who were selected during COVID and did not have the opportunity for their celebration. There were also nurses honored who were scholarship recipients. Congratulations are due to all of them, as well as to those who took the time to nominate them and to fill out the paperwork. Appreciation is also expressed to the volunteers who give many hours to keep this important organization strong.
Shirley Harkey, DHA, RN, FACHE, is an expert nurse who worked with me at Rex in the mid 80’s. Shirley was the manager of the Rex Pediatric unit. She left Rex in the late 80’s and has held VP and other positions at several NC hospitals and completed her doctorate. Shirley has kept in touch with me through the years, and I have enjoyed following her successful career. She has been a strong supporter of the Great 100 Nurses since its inception and was a recipient of the Great 100 Nurses award in 1989.
Shirley was asked to be the keynote speaker of the 2022 Great 100 Nurses event, and she honored me by asking me to share the platform with her. Shirley wanted to honor my involvement in the inception of the organization. She also honored the memory and involvement of other NC nurses who were instrumental in the organization’s inception.
The Great 100 Nurses event is a formal affair. There were over 600 people in attendance at the October 8th celebration. Shirley, my husband Mike, and I were seated at a table with Shirley’s daughter and her friend. There were two open seats, and two people, Janice Laurore and her husband Kevin, joined our table. Janice was the chair of the Publications Committee of the event. I did not think I knew them, but how wrong I was.
When I introduced myself to Janice and Kevin, Janice shared a story with me of her and my involvement in 1990 at Rex. She told me I am the reason for her long tenure at Rex hospital, giving me entirely too much credit for that. Janice told me a story about that, saying she had shared that same story with many others through the years. I was touched beyond words. I could not believe that my actions had such a positive impact on this then new nurse at Rex Hospital so much so that she not just remembers that but has told that story to others and now to me. What a gift Janice and her words were to me.
I am sharing Janice and her story and Shirley and her actions with my readers for one reason only, and it certainly is not to be boastful. I am not boastful about this. I am humbled by being able to be a positive influence on others. I am reminded of the importance of all our words and actions, and that we may never know how those words and actions impact others. And I am well aware was it not for the actions of Shirley Harkey inviting me to share her podium, by reaching out and honoring me, that I would likely never have known about Janice and her story.
What about the randomness of Janice and her husband Kevin sitting at our table at the event? Was it really random? I don’t think so. I prefer to think that God reached down and touched me, giving me the gift of reconnecting with Janice, of being able to have her words bless me. Also, I was given the gift of reconnecting with Shirley Harkey, of her honoring me as an important part of the inception of the NC Great 100 Nurses and inviting me to address the organization.
Thank you Shirley and Janice who both have the gift of affirmation, and have reached down and touched me in perhaps the most positive and powerful manner that I have ever experienced. While I do not know if I deserve your gifts to me, I accept them as given to me with your whole hearts.
Now, I need to pay it forward. I am thinking of how to do that.