Toby Marsh

Telling our story in our voice

Chief Nursing Officer Toby describes why this project was important to him and what he hopes these stories will demonstrate.

portrait of Toby Marsh, Chief Nursing Officer at UC Davis Health


I think nurses have such rich stories and oftentimes we hear about them in retrospect. And I think there's so much beauty in the nurses' voice, their first voice, describing their experiences, those human connections and interactions that are beautiful. I thought this would be a great opportunity to hear nurses share those moments that highlight the value of what they do. Perhaps I was just doing my job, the unnoticed moments that may seem so small, but I think to that person who the nurse was caring for, be it the patient, the family, the visitors, those moments are so rich. And so I think we're going to benefit from archiving their stories so that we can continue to demonstrate the value of nursing.

We're continuing every year, every moment, every day to advance technology that allows us to provide really safe care to target and be precise, but it's that human connection, human touch, that makes a difference. And without that human connection, I don't think we truly can heal. And so through this project, I'm really hoping that we can hear from nurses those rich stories that otherwise would be lost, would be missed, and we would lose out on not hearing from them. That's my hope from this and really desire to do this project. I think I'm going to need a lot of Kleenex when I hear them, so I will listen to them privately.

But I think I tear up now, as it is, by reading patient stories and being caught up in the moment of those stories. And I think that is also something that's going to be really nice, because in healthcare it just moves so quickly. A lot of competing agendas and priorities, and it will be nice to take a moment and use these stories as reflections and say, "What's important in what we do every single day and why do we come to work?" And it's in these stories that I think the listeners, regardless of the discipline, will, I hope, see their contribution to this story either directly or indirectly as well. Because while these might be a nurse's voice sharing these stories, behind these nurses are many other people who are contributing to the ability for these stories to be made to be shared.