I am always puzzled and amazed at how so very difficult it is for me to narrow down one social justice issue that sticks out to me the most. I continuously struggle to find my one purpose and notice that my focus is vastly changing, adapting, and quite interconnected. I believe just like each individual’s impact on the world around them is that of a domino effect, each social justice issue is interwoven with one another.
I am motivated by my experiences as a Mercy Volunteer and the opportunities in the healthcare field serving as a nurse on two medical-surgical telemetry floors at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. I strive to provide the best care day to day that is driven by evidence-based practice with the utmost kindness and compassion. That is, at the core, the sole purpose. However, my past experiences back home serving the various Chicago-land communities, Appalachian communities, and now the Baltimore area have shown me that many facets of healthcare.
Living and serving in Baltimore reminds me so much of my humanity and the need for social justice advocates working as a team to provide the best-quality care for all patients and their families. Serving on these two floors, I have had a fair share of patients that have seen and experienced prejudice against them in their life whether it be from race, mental health, substance abuse/addiction, age, disability, or gender. Currently, our country is facing a dire crisis where people’s access to healthcare is being denied, rescinded, or is simply unaffordable. Everyone at one point in their life with encounter illness and need to be treated for a health issue; some of these people will even face chronic health conditions that debilitate them even if they follow medical recommendations. But No one, despite any of the above conditions, should be denied the best quality health care.
Every day I walk into a patient’s room ready to serve each and every person with compassion, dignity, and respect and provide the most knowledgeable and understanding care. Each patient’s story matters and impacts how they will progress throughout their stay at the hospital and how their independence at home or rehab. This opportunity at Mercy Medical Center daily displays to me that I have a passion for healthcare and I chose the right profession for me. There is so much more to learn about how to provide quality care and many more lives to touch.
I am also excited to help one day a week at Healthcare for the Homeless. HCH was founded in an effort to aid the homeless in their healthcare crises and help them transition to a better environment. I surely will encounter the effects of chronic illness, substance abuse, racism, discrimination, and disability; but, my hope is that I find some answers in how to be a part of the prevention efforts and help turn the tide on some of the many social injustices that continue to plague our world.
Megan Lavelle: Baltimore, Maryland