A Mother-Daughter Double Blessing
Laurie Plante has worked with Dr. Ghosh for over 25 years, and now her daughter Lauren is following in her footsteps. Lauren, a recent nursing graduate, joined us part-time this summer. She also works weekends in oncology at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Just like her mom, Lauren has boundless passion for her work and a huge heart for others.
We recently asked them to share what’s it like to work together, not only in the same profession but in the same place! As you’ll see, it’s working out beautifully. Without consulting one another, both Laurie and Lauren indicated that the best part of the arrangement is getting to see one another two days a week. No wonder they’re such a great team!
Q&A with Laurie and Lauren
What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
Laurie: I knew at age 5 that I wanted to be a nurse. I had an aunt who was a nurse, and she inspired me! After graduation I went to nursing school, graduated and started working at the ripe age of 21!
Lauren: I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a nurse. Being the oldest of three, it was a natural instinct to be a caretaker and nurturer. As time went on, I continued to genuinely enjoy taking care of others. I would say at times there was consideration of other careers, such as social work or business administration, but never serious enough to change from nursing. Nursing was always the original plan.
Who had the original idea about working together?
Laurie: Lauren has known Dr. Ghosh since she was 5! I remember taking her to work with me on “Take Your Daughter to Work Day!” I always would tease her when she was in nursing school to hurry up so she could take my place, and I could retire! When a position opened up, I threw it out for her to consider. At the time, Lauren was working 12-hour shifts at the UIHC. When she transitioned to working weekends there, I mentioned it again! She’s currently working on the Hematology/Oncology floor at the U, and I told her I thought it would be good experience for her to see the outpatient side of oncology. And now she’s here working two days a week.
Lauren: We had always jokingly talked about it, and I usually brushed it under the rug. Once the opportunity presented itself, I was a little nervous but knew in my gut that I had to take it. Working with your mom and learning from her was something I could not pass up!
What happened when you first discussed it?
Laurie: I think at first when I mentioned it to Lauren she was nervous. She has a very high respect for Dr. Ghosh and the staff, and she might have been overwhelmed by the idea. I didn’t want to pressure her or make her feel like I would be hurt if she chose not to pursue it. I told her she needed to make her decision based on what was best for her - not for me, not for Dr. Ghosh. The ball was in her court.
Lauren: I had to do a little soul searching. It wasn't an immediate yes! I laughed. I cried. I was excited. I was nervous. There were a lot of emotions that I had to work through! I talked to my mom quite a bit, but she remained very neutral. She never pressured me one way or the other and was a very good listener. When I accepted the position at the office, we both celebrated with excitement!
What was the reaction from Dr. Ghosh and the rest of the team? How about the patients?
Laurie: I think Dr. Ghosh was excited to have Lauren join us. She has the same work ethic and compassionate attitude that everyone has at TGC. Most of the staff knew Lauren from when she worked here scanning documents, so they were looking forward to having her join us. As for the patients, Lauren and I had talked prior to her starting about what she would call me. Mom? Laurie? We agreed that I would introduce her as Lauren and leave it at that. But in casual conversation between us, patients catch on that we’re related. She does call me Laurie, sometimes Mom when she REALLY needs my help. :)
Lauren: Everyone was very supportive! It was very comforting and reassuring. We weren't sure how to approach the patients. Do we come right out and tell them? Will they catch on by the way we interact with each other? What do I call Mom? Nurse Laurie? Laurie? Mom? We found our groove rather quickly. Once patients found out, they were really excited and supportive! My dad asked me one time, "What do you call mom at work?" and I said, "Well, it depends on how bad I need her!"
Do you have any ground rules for working together?
Laurie: Not really. I tease her about filling my shoes! I would say maybe leaving work at work. But it is nice to be speaking the same language as far as oncology nursing goes. Oh, she can’t eat my snacks or peanut butter…this isn’t like at home!
Lauren: Mom and I never really discussed ground rules. My mom is my best friend and working together has seemed very natural. I have a great respect for my mom and the wealth of knowledge she can share with me. It's been such a blessing being able to learn from her.
What’s the best part?
Laurie: Seeing her on a professional level. I am very proud of Lauren and how hard she worked through school to get to where she is. She is a very caring, compassionate, loyal person, and I see that in the way she interacts with the patients. It makes my heart happy! And I get to spend two days a weeks with her!
Lauren: The best part IS working with my mom, learning from her and seeing her interact with the patients. I am so glad I have been given this opportunity. And getting to see her two days of the week!
Editor’s note: I asked them if there was any downside. They both said no! That settled that.
What does your family think?
Laurie: My husband was very excited about it! Although he brought Lauren breakfast one morning, and I got nothing… Not sure what that was about. Of course my mom thinks It’s wonderful! All three generations of our family have a high admiration for The Ghosh Center.
Lauren: Everyone was really excited to see us work together. It has been fun sharing the news with family!
Do you have any advice for others who work with family members?
Laurie: I would say leave work at work. You need to step away from things especially in the oncology field which can be overwhelming, not only mentally but also emotionally.
Lauren: I would say if the opportunity presents itself for family members to work together, take it! I have a much greater respect for what my mom does now that I live it two days a week.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Laurie: Nothing other than I am SO excited to have her here! I love sharing my knowledge with her and all the “tricks of the trade.” I don’t know where this will lead, but I know the time that Lauren spends here will be a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow as a professional. I’ve always told her that I walk away each day receiving more than I give from my patients. I hope she can feel the same way. A job is good, but a calling and doing what you love is even better!
Lauren: I am so very thankful for the opportunity to learn from all of the nurses and doctors here. The cherry on top of everything is the fact that I get to work with and learn from my mom. We share a special bond over nursing, and she was the one who inspired me to become a nurse. She is also the one who was steadily encouraging me through nursing school. I’m so glad I took the leap of faith to work side-by-side with my mom and all the staff members here at The Ghosh Center.