Monday, January 28, 2013

What's Your Why? Dr. Elizabeth Stover Lucore

Each Monday, CoxHealth president and CEO Steve Edwards welcomes new employees to CoxHealth as they participate in orientation. Each week, he always asks the group a question: “Why did you come into health care?” Some of the responses have been both touching and inspiring.

We recently asked that question of all employees on our intranet so we can all be reminded of why health care is one of the most worthwhile careers. In the coming days, we'll share a number of staff responses here on the blog. Here's what Dr. Elizabeth Stover Lucore shared with us:

Dr. Elizabeth Stover Lucore 
Family Practice & Obstetrics of Monett

“It started in college when I heard a quote by theologian Frederick Buechner: “Your vocation in life is where your greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.”

It always stuck with me because I never knew what my passion was. There were so many needs around. I always wanted a job where I would want to go to work every day, knowing I wasn’t going to be motivated by my paycheck. I wanted a job where I didn’t have to worry about switching careers. But I didn’t know what that was. I majored in science because I liked those classes. But I had no idea where it was going. After college, I was able to join volunteer service and I had a bunch of amazing experiences. One of those was taking care of homeless people in Washington, D.C.

I would spend the whole day bandaging really gross bandages on a person’s legs. One man had no skin from his ankles to his knees and so every day as I changed his dressing he would tell me something about his life and we would just be talking. And I, the girl from rural Kansas, and he, the man from Washington who had never met a white person, became really good friends. I figured out that: a.) I really love people and b.) I did not get grossed out. And so I started to explore, ‘what does that mean?’

It was so natural to think about going to medical school next and so I talked with doctors who were working there. I talked with nurses and I talked with pre-hospital people and I started thinking real intentionally about, ‘what is my role, what is the place where my greatest passion is going to meet the world’s need?’

Through all those conversations, I figured out that I belonged somewhere with all kinds of people, with all kinds of needs, where I need to listen, where I can be a listener.

I’m really happy now every day I go to work. I get to be a family doctor. I get to deliver babies. I help people with chronic illnesses. It’s a lot of education, lots of listening and getting to touch people in a way that can make a difference. I get to be a part of their life journey.

It keeps me learning and I think that’s a unique thing about health care. Everybody in health care knows that we have a unique window into, and a privileged role in, people’s lives. It could be a second of their life, but we’re pivotal.

Why did I go into health care? I think that’s where my joy meets a great need so hopefully I can make a difference doing that.”