Lilly Moyer-McKee, BSN, RN grew up frequenting an Idaho pediatric hospital where, throughout her childhood, she was monitored and treated for three separate heart conditions. Rather than the fear or anxiety, what Lilly remembers most is her pediatric cardiologist’s kindness and patience – how his relationship with her and her family fueled a passion for joining the healthcare field.
“From an early age I would always be asking my cardiologist ‘how’ or ‘why’ – he encouraged my curiosity and always took time to teach rather than just do. After I had heart surgery while in college, he offered me the opportunity to job shadow him and see for myself where I would best fit in the healthcare field.”
After shadowing her longtime mentor and graduating from Gonzaga University, Lilly joined EvergreenHealth as a nurse in the Emergency Department.
“Every day in the emergency department is different – a new challenge to work through or experience to learn from. You never know what will come your way next. All you really know is that you are taking care of people on what might be the worst day of their life, and that somewhere their family is worried and waiting for answers. I remember how scared my parents would be when I was at the hospital…I always keep that in mind and try to go that extra mile to provide comfort and support.”
But while expecting the unexpected was part of the mantra in her department, Lilly and her colleagues could never have foreseen their greatest challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic. Just a few weeks into her nursing career, EvergreenHealth became the first hospital in the country to manage a community outbreak of COVID-19.
“I remember the first night: an elderly couple was being treated in the emergency room with respiratory issues and we knew the likelihood that they would test positive for COVID-19. I had been a nurse for less than a month and I knew that there was a risk – we all did – but you also know that the community is counting on you. We put on our PPE that night and didn’t look back.”
While Lilly’s first two years of nursing were anything but typical, she has taken it in stride. In 2021, Lilly was nominated by her peers and chosen by EvergreenHealth leadership to receive a Nursing Excellence Award. Described as a rising star in her field, Lilly stands out as an exceptional nurse and a young leader in the nursing profession.
When asked what she thought about her first two years as a nurse, Lilly shares: “EvergreenHealth has given me the best foundation possible to start my career. I’ve got a supportive team to fall back on and community that lifts me and my colleagues up when we need it. I’ve found something really special here.”
Community support helps EvergreenHealth invest in nurses, like Lilly, by providing nursing scholarships, continuing education and training resources to support career development. Nurses give so much of themselves every day – during National Nurses Week, join us in giving back and make a donation today!