Linda Lowry, RN
Walk the walk and talk the talk: That’s what Linda Lowry knew she needed to do when she became a nurse.
Prior to getting her nursing degree, Linda was tipping the scales. She was out of shape and unhealthy. Ten years ago, when her son Michael passed away from an asthma attack at the age of 15, Linda used her grief as fuel. It was time to make a change.
She learned she was an ideal candidate for gastric bypass surgery. This was the first stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle that soon resulted in losing more than 100 pounds.
“I mentally honed in on a whole lifestyle change,” said Linda. “When you make such a commitment to losing weight, you find other areas to improve as well. You start focusing on your physical, emotional, and financial health.”
Life’s Ultimate Questions
Linda found herself asking these questions:
- What am I doing with my time?
- Who or what am I putting my energy into?
- What am I doing to be my best self?
Becoming a nurse was yet another step that allowed her to live a healthy lifestyle — but it did more than that. It opened the door for Linda to share her passion for healthy living with patients and colleagues.
At her previous place of work, she helped run a “Biggest Loser”-type competition among the staff. The contest kept colleagues accountable and challenged people to become more active. It also provided engagement and common ground among the health care team.
The contest was so successful that Linda plans to bring it to her new place of work at Prairie Creek Village in Decatur, IL.
She’s also zoned in on the food choices available to her nursing team. Currently the break room doesn’t have many healthy snacks: Linda’s goal is to change that by providing better options to reduce unhealthy temptations.
Fight for Air Climb
Last year, Linda accomplished a feat that many people don’t: The Lung Association's Fight for Air Climb at Presidential Towers in Chicago, IL. She climbed a total of 180 floors and 2,340 steps.
Her motivation: Her son.
“It was a humbling experience, but I was determined to finish,” said Linda. “The entire time I was in my feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Every person there had a story or a reason why they were doing it. The climb was definitely an emotional exercise.”
As an advocate for lung health, Linda plans to complete the climb again. This time she has a more far-reaching purpose for doing so. Rather than compete solely for her son’s memory, she plans to participate in honor of “everyone.”
Her advocacy takes on special significance this year as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the virus is known for affecting the airways, it is especially dangerous for those with respiratory conditions.
“Everyone has to breathe,” said Linda.
As a nurse, Linda understands the health and wellness challenges that come along with the job. Her advice to fellow nurses:
- Perception is reality in the eyes of patients. We have to set the example for our patients and our families. We can’t tell our patients to lose weight when we’re standing in front of them overweight.
- There’s power in faking it until you make it. Eventually, you’re going to feel good.
- Be the best version of yourself. Try to live what you’ve learned as a nurse. Knowledge is power. Don’t give up.
Linda Lowry, RN, is the Director of Clinical Services Nursing at Prairie Creek Village in Decatur, IL.
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