Coworker Corner: Miranda McDonald
Have you ever experienced a happy accident, a time when something completely unplanned happens to be the greatest of all outcomes? At Mercy Home, we’re grateful for a happy accident that brought new nurse Miranda McDonald through our doors.
Before she was a teenager, Miranda moved from Virginia to Ohio to Texas before she and her family landed in Oak Park, Illinois. After graduating high school, McDonald attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to pursue a degree in kinesiology and eventually become a physical therapist. However, after completing the necessary coursework for this major, Miranda felt a new chapter could be opening just as her college career was coming to a close.
“Junior year, I changed my mind and decided to do nursing, so I went back to school and went to UIC to start my nursing career from 2018 to 2020,” she explained.
At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miranda graduated with a master’s degree in nursing and began working on the front lines.
Before Mercy Home, Miranda was a float nurse at Lurie Children’s Hospital, where she worked with patients “on all floors of the hospital, from cardiology to oncology to pediatric surgery.”
As a new nurse, Miranda’s experience and heart for people was deepened by her time at Lurie. Still, she had a new vision for her career that didn’t align with her current position. Miranda soon realized that she had a desire to work in preventative care, more specifically, “with children who look like me.”
Miranda noted that the systemic issues affecting African Americans’ health led to her desire to mobilize change.
“At [Lurie’s], I always noticed other issues [and] there wasn’t enough time in the day to focus on those issues that brought the kid to the hospital or contributed to their health,” she said.
This encouraged Miranda to pursue a calling that runs in tandem with nursing: a desire to give back to her community.
After reflecting on her journey to Mercy Home, Miranda said, “I reached out to someone I barely knew in high school, and she eventually connected me with someone who works at Rush University. … He knew that there was an opening at Mercy Home and that I had a passion to work in preventative care. So the timing was perfect.”
I reached out to someone I barely knew in high school, and she eventually connected me with someone who works at Rush University. … He knew that there was an opening at Mercy Home and that I had a passion to work in preventative care. So the timing was perfect.
– Miranda McDonald, Nurse at Mercy Home
Mercy Home and Rush University work as partners, with the common and sacred goal of improving the lives of those in need. After a round of Zoom calls and intentional conversations at both institutions, both Rush and Mercy Home were impressed by Miranda’s experience and demeanor. So, as a result, Miranda taking a risk and messaging an unfamiliar high school classmate eventually brought her to Mercy Home.
Miranda began working at Mercy Home in February 2022 and has found the transition not only manageable, but enjoyable. She currently treks across the city to split her time between the West Loop Campus and Walsh Campus. This way, Miranda has been able to form genuine relationships with our boys and girls, as well as our family of coworkers. McDonald is often seen greeting our kids by their first names in the hallway or stopping to ask a coworker about their day when she isn’t attending to an urgent need.
“It’s been an easy transition, and I’ve felt very supported and empowered by Emily Neal and the entire team,” she said. “A lot of people are interested in knowing my thoughts and my opinions. I feel so accepted and heard here, which I really appreciate.”
Miranda has been with the Mercy Home family for just a month but has already made an impact and has been impacted by the culture at our home.
“My favorite part about working at Mercy Home has been feeling like I fit in right away,” she said. “Everyone’s been so open. The Mercy Home community has really embraced me. Also, getting to know the youth has been incredible. I get to share health with them in a way that I think they would find interesting.”
When she’s not providing care to our kids, Miranda enjoys the gorgeous Chicago lakeshore as a great place for roller skating! Miranda noted that, while getting lost in her music, she can skate upwards of ten miles down the lakeshore. This is one of the ways McDonald likes to stay active, along with attending music festivals and exploring the city with friends.
The Mercy Home community has really embraced me. Also, getting to know the youth has been incredible. I get to share health with them in a way that I think they would find interesting.
When asked about what she’s looking forward to in her career, Miranda expressed gratitude to see the culture of Mercy Home evolve while holding on to pre-pandemic traditions. McDonald is energized to help Mercy Home find its new identity while honoring its past.
“I’m looking forward to a new normal at Mercy Home post-pandemic and how we can incorporate the characteristics that existed before the pandemic to now,” she said. “I’m looking forward to supporting and embracing that, and brainstorming [ideas] and making them come to life again.”
They say that even one action, no matter how small, can change the course of history. Still, whether or not the so-called butterfly effect brought nurse Miranda to our Home, her hard work in the past as a student and with our kids is proof that her time with us is a very happy accident!