Humbly be the Drifter

A few days ago, my assignment at work was to be the “float person”. It meant that instead of being designated a single operating room to attend to with all its surgeries, I was to be an extra pair of hands for all the other OR nurses. I floated from room to room, helping anesthesiologists, surgeons, the other nurses, and scrub techs with whatever they needed: I pulled medications, fetched instruments, brought in special equipment, and brought extra supplies. When I finished my task or was no longer needed, I would leave and drift on to the next duty.

Yes, its reaffirming to get a “thanks” from the other staff members, but the recognition is not what motivates me. The joy of this role is that I have the chance to support my peers and set them up for success. If I feel like slacking or glossing over the details, I remember what its like to be the nurse in the operating room suite, receiving the help from this float person. I aim to be the nurse I’d want to work with.

In my recovery life, this role reminds me of a certain part of literature that tells us we must aim to be one among many, to be a peer among peers – not to be the best nor the worst. This means finding the middle ground, being right-sized, which for me means humility. My mind often automatically thinks self-centered thoughts and seeks validation, so what I need is less thoughts about myself and more thoughts about others – how can I be of service to others?

This saying works anywhere! Not only does the search and practice of humility help me at work, but it helps me get along with my family, friends, roommates, fellow gym-goers, or strangers at the grocery store. If I am thinking of others more, I am thinking of myself less, and that is the kind of person I’d want to know.


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