Long before I embarked on a career in health administration, I knew I wanted to be a mom. Family was central in my life—I’m the youngest of five children, and my own mother, as you can imagine, was nothing short of amazing. In fact, it was by her side, when I’d tag along as a candy striper in the West Virginia community hospital where we lived, that I began to understand what caregiving, both professionally and personally, is all about. My mother also encouraged us to be an active, healthy family – all of us played sports and loved being outside, and that’s a passion I share with my family today.
Thanks to the lessons I learned from my mother, and from those I continue to learn from my own three kids, I’ve come to believe that these two things—health and caregiving/motherhood—go hand-in-hand.
Of course there’s the obvious connection: I’m just like every parent whose first hope and prayer is that our children will be healthy. That laser focus hasn’t shifted one iota from the moment I first became a mom 24 years ago when my oldest daughter Katherine was born, to now. I still worry about her and her brother Matthew and sister Alexandra’s health and safety every day. But I also understand that their well-being is connected to broader issues of community well-being—and thus my passion for improving access to care and quality of care for everyone drives what I do every day at Roper St. Francis Healthcare.
I have more personal reasons why I believe motherhood and health go hand-in-hand, too. I know that I have more to give my kids and husband, more energy and presence, when I am healthy and feeling my best. This means that I keep a check on stress. I make time for early morning runs and healthy dinners (fortunately, my husband Andy is a great cook!). And that we plan fun time together as a family. For the Lutton crew that often means being outside on a hiking trip, or running a crazy Ragnar Relay as a family, taking turns for 200 miles total. When my kids were little, we’d volunteer together as a family transporting day-old bread from Publix to a homeless shelter in Tampa. Yes, those candy-striper stripes from my own mom run deep.
I love being a mother. And I love being a CEO, with our amazing Roper St. Francis teammates and patients as an extended family. In both roles, I’ve learned that caregiving for one another requires caretaking of ourselves, and that health is never to be taken for granted.
On this Mother’s Day, I salute all you moms and grandmoms out there who do the tireless, critical work of caregiving and being role models and leaders, and with whom I am proud to work for a healthier community for all our children.
by Lorraine Lutton, Roper St. Francis Healthcare CEO and Mother of Three