72: Marathons with Meaning
Stigma and stereotypes can hold us back. In every part of our lives – work, family, hobbies, friendships – how we think others see us often shapes how we see ourselves, even when our capabilities far surpass what they or we believe. Nurses, in particular, face many external, stereotyped expectations. Many people have firmly held beliefs about who nurses are, what they do, where they work, their skills and weaknesses, and even what they wear. But nurses know better – nurses are widely skilled, deeply experienced, and are represented across every demographic and in many different settings. They experience the full range of human emotion, too; the strength and compassion they are known for, but also the vulnerabilities and challenges that go unspoken.
Samantha Roecker, RN has a “track record” (pun intended) of breaking many barriers and stereotypes and her success in competitive running combined with her experience as a nurse drove her to combine her passions to raise awareness and drive change for nurses. Frustrated by the lack of mental health resources for nurses, specifically those specifically addressing healthcare trauma and the pandemic, she knew more could be done. Inspired by British nurse and marathon record holder, Jessica Anderson, Sam embarked on a bold goal – breaking the Guinness World Record for fastest marathon run in a nurse’s uniform, and raise thousands of dollars to support nurse mental health, in partnership with The American Nurse’s Foundation, Moxie Scrubs and the 26.2 Foundation.
At the 2022 Boston Marathon, she did just that. In this episode, we talk with Samantha about the impact stigma has on nurses’ ability to reach their full potential, what really defines a nurse, the power of mental health support, and the surprising overlap between nursing and competitive running.
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