Jacob Brady, BSN, RN: Nurse, Lifesaver, Problem Solver
Little did he know what he was walking into.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and a cyberattack, Jacob learned a lot. One of the most important lessons was that the MICU team is unlike any other.
“We were like a dysfunctional family,” Jacob said. “Our dark humor would get us through the day. It would ease the heaviness, knowing something bad was probably going to happen that day, but also that we could get through it together.”
For a time, he quite literally worked with family. His twin brother, Zach, also a nurse, worked on the MICU before transferring to a night-shift resource nurse role at GBMC. Having someone who understood exactly what working in healthcare during the pandemic felt like made the experience more palatable.
Despite the team camaraderie and positive experience, Jacob did leave GBMC for a brief period in March 2022. He took a traveling dialysis nurse role, working at various hospitals around Maryland. After months spent on a COVID unit, Jacob thought his new role would come with a little less stress and provide him a new professional skill he could use for the rest of his career.
But it didn’t pan out quite how he expected.
“I was a number. They didn’t care how I felt,” Jacob said. “They didn’t care about my wellbeing. I worked 18-hour plus days every day, never got to see my wife, which put a strain on us. I worked 22 hours one day at one hospital and was getting calls at 8:30 in the morning after going to bed at 3 a.m. asking why I wasn’t at my next stop.”
He returned to GBMC after just six months because even when he made stops at the Towson hospital for dialysis rounds, people asked how he was doing and showed they cared.
“At GBMC, I’m seen as an individual and a person. I’m respected for what I think and how I practice and elsewhere, I wasn’t,” he said.
Despite organizational challenges and a consistent nursing shortage that dates back to pre-pandemic days, GBMC, according to Jacob, still treats nurses with respect. Leaders recognize their humanity and treat them with integrity. The effect trickles down to all staff.
“The doctors are going to respect your opinions. They won’t talk down to you. They see you as their equal,” Jacob said. “Rounds are called multidisciplinary for a reason. Doctors look to you for a patient’s assessment, and you share what your findings are and what your thoughts are on treatment, and they incorporate that into their notes. They take your input very seriously, which I really appreciate because there are plenty of other places that won’t. Here, no one ever makes you feel dumb for not knowing something.”
Back in the MICU, Jacob is content. He plans on staying on the unit for a few more years and would like to consider moving into a leadership role. The team on the unit is a little different from the one he left, but he is encouraged by the new nurses he gets to work with each day.
“I really like the new nurses. They are good nurses. They make me look bad,” Jacob said. “I really do like going to work because they do a phenomenal job. They want to learn, and they ask good questions, and it gives me an opportunity to teach them something and show something new.”
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