He Was A Clown, High-Rise Window Washer, Then? A Fabulous Riley Nurse

Blog Sylvester Web

Craig Sylvester’s nursing inspiration comes the same way every day. Each morning, when he walks through the doors at 5:30 a.m., he stops and takes a moment to look at the statue of Riley icon Morris Green.

Craig Sylvester had 80-some odd jobs before he found his calling. He wrote them all down on a piece of paper once.

Performing clown. High-rise window washer. Land surveyor. The list goes on and on and on.

And then? Well then, at age 29, Sylvester went to school to become a nurse. And when he landed his spot at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, he found a career that stuck, a career that has been the perfect fit.

Sylvester works in outpatient surgery and recovery at Riley – pre-op, post-op and all facets in between. Children are so vulnerable and innocent, so impressionable, Sylvester says.

“I just love being there for them,” says Sylvester, who before coming to Riley was a nurse at IU Health University Hospital for two years in progressive care.

His goal each day is to help ease the anxiety of his little patients. He has found that not talking above them or down to them is key. Simply get on their level and get real.

His inspiration to do his best comes the same way every day. Each morning, when Sylvester walks through the doors of Riley at 5:30 a.m., he stops and takes a moment to look at the statue of Morris Green, M.D. The former physician-in-chief of Riley is Sylvester’s motivation.

Dr. Green, who spent decades at Riley focusing on family-centered care, died in 2013. One of his most profound quotes is Sylvester’s mission statement for his job. 

“Let all who walk this way know that Indiana cherishes her families, that she loves her children. In this very special haven, no child shall cry unheard … none shall walk alone … and no mother or father shall be friendless.”   -- Morris Green, M.D. (1922-2013)

“How could you not walk in every morning and see this and smile?” Sylvester says. “It’s perfect, absolutely perfect.”  

That quote is on a plaque just feet from Dr. Green’s statute. After taking a moment with the statue, Sylvester walks up every morning and touches that quote.

Then, on his locker downstairs, Sylvester has a picture of Dr. Green with that same quote.  

“This statement is how I live my life at Riley. I can’t put it into any simpler terms,” he says. “That’s how I do my nursing. I can’t imagine it being any other way. No child should cry unheard. It’s beautiful.”

-- By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

   Reach Benbow via email dbenbow@iuhealth.org or on Twitter @danabenbow.

Viewing all posts in …