Last Wednesday was designated as Nurses Appreciation Day. In reality, every day is a day to appreciate the work of our healthcare workers.
I reached out to an old friend on Tuesday night to talk about his career change. He left the sports desk at a local newspaper a few years ago to become a nurse. At the time, it seemed peculiar since working in a sports department never requires life and death decisions.
Years later, Robert McGinty has become one of the smartest people I know. He saw the demise of the news industry before the rest of us. He knew it was becoming a conglomerate designed to cut every corner, even at the sake of good reporting.
Now he’s making a more-significant difference.
“I was in my mid-40s and I figured I had time for one more thing,” McGinty said. “It required a lot of school, so I had to plan a few years ahead. I wanted one more career shot and it was starting to look like journalism wasn’t going to work out much longer – not through any fault of mine, but how the business was going.”
It proved to be a good decision – and one that makes a difference in the real world, not the fantasy world of sports.
“That’s the best part about it. I love what I’m doing. It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, but it’s also the most-rewarding. I have no complaints,” he said. “You have 12-hour shifts, overnight and most of it on your feet. It’s a grind sometimes. There’s an emotional aspect to it that you have to deal with that I didn’t have to deal with at the newspaper.”
Although with the COVID-19 pandemic it seems so long ago, there still are some good memories of his days in sports.
“Definitely the Super Bowl in 2005,” he said. “We plotted out everything we were doing. For two weeks straight instead of doing an eight-to-10-page section, we were doing a 32-page section for two weeks straight. It required planning and execution and everybody did everything perfectly. We had a great boss who made it a great pleasure to work there.
“At the hospital, it’s a different environment. Everything here is based on science. There’s one right way to do things. At the newspaper, you had to come up with the finished product and you could take any route you wanted to get there. At the hospital, there’s one way to do it and that’s the way it gets done.”
Even before sports shut down for the coronavirus, McGinty said he doesn’t watch as much sports as in the past. And his sport of choice is soccer.
His passion, however, is helping people.
“There’s an emotional aspect to it,” he said. “I walk out of here on Cloud 9 some days and other days my head’s spinning. It’s can be a roller coaster. But I absolutely wouldn’t change it. This is the best thing I’ve ever done. I really enjoyed my 20 years at the newspaper, but I figure I will end my career in this business and I couldn’t be happier with the decision I made.”
McGinty’s story isn’t unique. Every floor of every hospital is filled with similar stories of sacrifice and commitment.
Appreciating all of them really should take more than one day.