Maurice Harris, MSN, RN, CMSRN, wears many hats in his professional and volunteer capacities. He has served at Our Lady of the Lake Health since 2015, growing in those eight years as he moved from contract nurse to nurse manager.
He’s also mayor of Maringouin, serves as a volunteer firefighter and teaches nursing students at Baton Rouge Community College. His position with Our Lady of the Lake provides enough flexibility to balance all his priorities.
leading with faith
Earlier in his career, Maurice had worked at Our Lady of the Lake through a nursing agency, and he was enticed to return in part because of the offer of in-house contracts. But it wasn’t the only factor.
“When I came back, the feeling of this being a faith-based organization was one of the key reasons to return,” he says. “The fact that we pray before every meeting, every morning and every night is key to me being here now.”
Maurice’s deep faith has been central to his career path, and he approaches his work as ministry, striving to be a living testimony.
“Nursing is not just a career, and faith has always played a major role in my journey,” he says. “I’ve always said that whatever door God opened, I was going to walk in.”
growing in leadership
One door Maurice walked through was by taking the opportunity to become a floor supervisor. “From there I applied for a director’s position and moved up that way,” he says.
With encouragement from his leaders, Maurice had to discern between two possible roles. He remembers being told, “Take your time, go home, discuss it with your family, pray about it and come back and let us know.”
Being prioritized in that way is something he hadn’t experienced in previous workplaces.
“I’ve worked at a lot of places, and there are a lot of options for nurses,” Maurice says. “But here, I’m supported by management, and I feel more supported here than I’ve ever been. It’s a great place to be.”
helping more people
Although his priorities have changed across his career with Our Lady of the Lake, Maurice’s core calling remains: “I just want to help people.” He chose to pursue his current position as a way to do more to serve others.
“My ultimate goal is to help more people, as many people as I can,” Maurice says. He’s inspired by the patients he encounters, and he credits that drive to serve as why he continues to work in healthcare.
“The opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life is the reason,” he says. “But every day I realize instead of me making a difference in people’s lives, people make a difference in my life. Every day they teach me something.”
being supported within a team
His team is incredibly supportive of all of Maurice’s priorities. It’s not only about their shared work but also things outside of work.
“Last year, I got reelected for my second mayoral term,” Maurice says. “When I got back to work, my team members had taken a photo of me, everybody signed the back and put it on my desk saying ‘Congratulations.’ And it’s still on my desk now.”
That kind of consideration and support is uplifting for Maurice.
“They inspire me to want to do the same things and give them that same love,” he says.
extending support to new and future nurses
Maurice doesn’t know what will come next in his career.
“For now, this is my season to be here,” he says. “My ultimate goal is to inspire newer nurses to care.”
In his work teaching at BRCC, Maurice is able to provide that inspiration directly, “curving students’ attitudes and views of nursing because I love what I do.”
His philosophy, which he passes on to his team and students: “You never know when it’s going to be you on the opposite side. Take what you do personally. Make it personal and make it mean something to you.”