For the past 15 years, Lea Sorley, RN, has worked as a registered nurse in the Surgery Department at Mason General Hospital, a job she excels at because she prioritizes teamwork and keeping patients safe. Her can-do attitude and positive demeanor inspires her coworkers each day to come together and care for patients. Mason Health is proud to name Lea Sorley the March Employee of the Month.
In celebration of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale and to encourage more people to enter into the field of nursing, the World Health Organization has declared 2020 the “Year of the Nurse.” At a time when nurses are needed more than ever due to the increased demands of the health care system, this celebration could not be more appropriate. Sorley encourages anyone who is on the fence about nursing to “go for it.”
“Nursing, especially in Surgery, is very interesting because there is always something new,” she said. “It’s constantly changing, so we’re constantly learning. We have added new services and more doctors, so it never stays the same and it is never boring. We have a shortage of OR (Operating Room) nurses in the country, so I want to get the word out there to young people that this is a great option.”
Sorley, who graduated from Shelton High School Class of 1985, has volunteered her time at Career Expos at her alma mater to encourage teenagers to consider careers in health care. Sorley herself has always been interested in the field, but it was not until her son was born premature that she realized she wanted to become a nurse. Her son ended up in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Tacoma General Hospital.
“Whenever I would go over there to take care of him, I saw what nurses do,” she said. “They go above and beyond. This, I thought, is what I want to do.”
Sorley obtained her nursing degree from South Puget Sound Community College and came to Mason Health because she wanted to live and work in her community. She also knew she wanted to work in Surgery.
“Our environment in the OR is that we work together as a team and there isn’t anything we do by ourselves,” she said. “From anesthesia, to the surgeon and surgical techs, we are always working as a team. We cannot do surgery without all of those people. The little family we have here is what has kept me here. I love my coworkers. There is an element of trust and respect that we have for each other and what we do.”
When talking to young people, Sorley wants them to know that nursing can vary in specialty from Surgery to Labor & Delivery and everything in between. There are also management options and other career avenues, she added.
“Caring for patients is our No. 1 priority, but there is so much more, so I encourage people to look beyond and see what nursing actually entails,” she said. “We are the patients’ advocate, their voice and their eyes, and we keep them safe during surgery.”
In her free time, Sorley loves to plan parties and get-togethers for her family and coworkers, such as Easter egg hunts, Christmas parties and potlucks to celebrate the surgeons. She has been married 15 years and enjoys her three children and one grandchild (Sorley has another grandchild on the way), as well as crafting and gardening.
Mason Health, Public Hospital District No. 1 of Mason County, is certified by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation. There are more than 100 physicians on staff in 19 specialties. Mason Health now offers 3D Mammography Services. For more information on 3D mammograms or to find a health care provider, visit www.MasonGeneral.com.