Even as a little girl, Lydia Murphy knew she wanted to help people one day.
Growing up in East York, Michael Garron Hospital was always part of Lydia’s life. Her mom worked at the hospital in the food services department, and when Lydia entered high school, she decided to start volunteering.
“It just seemed natural to walk down the road from my high school to volunteer here,” Lydia explains.
During her time as a “candy striper,” Lydia remembers how she would go to various medical floors, supporting staff as they helped take care of patients.
“Watching the nurses, I admired them so much for what they did — the difference they made in the lives of patients and families was incredible. It’s what inspired me to become a nurse.”
After finishing high school and graduating from nursing, Lydia was hired at Michael Garron Hospital as a registered nurse. Today, she works in outpatient cardiology.
“My colleagues honestly have a passion for taking care of people,” she says. “And you can see it in the little things that they do every day.”
She shares a story about a patient undergoing a common cardiac procedure using ultrasound to create images of the heart with a specialized probe inserted into the esophagus. It’s not uncommon for a patient to be nervous before the procedure. That’s where caring staff like Lydia step in.
“I remember one patient. I think he was just extremely nervous and had a history of anxiety. And given his history, he just didn't feel that he could do it,” says Lydia. “But through explaining the procedure, reassuring the patient, spending time with the patient, I think, helped him get through the test. And he did very well.”
Lydia remembers him coming back into the hospital to thank her in person.
“He said, ‘You made a real difference. I didn't think that I could have this test done. But the fact that you spent time with me, you explained the procedure, you would be there at my side, you were going to monitor my vital signs every five minutes to make sure that everything looked well, you held my hand. …those are all things that reassured me.’ “
To Lydia, that validation means a great deal. “It’s those little things,” she says.
Lydia’s smile is infectious as she describes her career at the hospital.
“I feel lucky every day that I’ve spent 30 years working at Michael Garron Hospital. There’s a real sense of community here, like we’re all here with a common purpose.”
Lydia and her colleagues truly feel the love of the community when donors choose to give to the hospital.
“When people make donations, well, I think it means that we're doing a good job. I think that people are happy with what we're doing, in the care that we're providing.”