Taylor Odell

When the coronavirus took hold of New York City in March 2020, then 26-year-old Taylor volunteered to work in the Covid-19 ICU. She worked with some of the most critically ill patients, specifically those receiving a treatment called ECMO, a device that uses external machinery to bypass a patient's heart and lungs. “I was very moved as an elementary school student by the poem "To Laugh Often and Much," by Ralph Waldo Emerson, which defines success as "to leave the world a bit better... to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded,’" she says. “I have carried this definition with me my entire life, and allowed it to guide my career into one of service.”

Taylor’s most recent work is in the cardiac catheterization lab (where patients having heart attacks go for care), and she empowers her coworkers not to identify themselves as “just a nurse.”

“Nursing is a woman-dominated profession, and as such, I empower my coworkers not to buy into the mentality so often present in the hierarchy of hospitals,” she says. “Yes, nurses may have less formal education than physicians and other clinicians in the hospital, but we undoubtedly play one of the most significant roles – not only in the hospital system, but also in the lives of patients and their families.

Taylor, who is based in Brooklyn, holds a degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She continues to practice as an RN, while also pursuing opportunities in health writing and education. 

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