Beloved nurse reflects on 46-year career

The adrenaline, spontaneity, and most importantly, the people. They're just some of the things Laurie Lessig loves about her job.

"I like to be able to look at a challenge. I like to come in and have a bunch of drips and a really sick patient and know that I'm going to make them better that day that they are not going to get worse," she explained.

Laurie has spent nearly half a century helping patients heal. Forty of those years were spent in the ER and ICU at St. Joseph's Hospital.

She's had the title of registered nurse most of her life, but after 46 years, Laurie's getting ready to hang up her stethoscope and scrubs.

"It's something that's always been part of my identity, so that's going to be a little different. But I'm ready for an adventure, something different," Laurie offered.

Laurie's no stranger to change.  From medical to technological advances like the computer, nursing is a lot different now than it was in 1970 when she graduated from Gordon Keller Nursing School in Tampa.

"You do what you have to do to take care of your patients," Laurie continued. 

While Laurie admits nursing is stressful and even sad at times, she wants the next generation to know the job is not all gloom and doom.

"There's a lot of joy in it. There's a lot of sorrow in it. But there's a lot of joy in it because we help people and we do become good friends," she said

Laurie is more than just a friend to her co-workers; she's admired, respected, and loved.

"Everybody around her; the patients love her, the families love her," said Joshua Roman.

The hospital won't be the same without Laurie and finding a replacement will be hard, if not impossible to do.

But after five decades of taking care of others, Laurie is ready to sit back, sleep in, and take care of herself.