Former Registered Nurse
After graduating from Adelphi’s School of Nursing in 1954, Ann Raab first worked as an orthopedic nurse at Meadowbrook Hospital, before joining the Nassau County Health Department. She relished the diversity of experiences and the sense of community. She worked there until the day her daughter was born in 1957.
After having her baby, Mrs. Raab decided she wanted to get back into her nursing uniform. She worked the night shift at Meadowbrook twice a week, which gradually turned into three or four shifts a week. Mrs. Raab thrived on the challenges she faced as a nurse, and when she stopped working to have her second child in 1958, she returned to Meadowbrook after five months at home.
When Mrs. Raab was in the hospital giving birth to her third child in 1961, she became interested in the Obstetrics department. After her son was born, she spent eight years covering the delivery room, post-partum care, and nursery in Meadowbrook’s OB unit. As it grew over the years, the hospital was in need of a night supervisor. With a baccalaureate degree, night experience, and familiarity with the staff, Mrs. Raab was the perfect candidate. As night supervisor, she and one other nurse covered all the buildings at Meadowbrook. “I did a lot of walking,” Mrs. Raab jokes.
Her career also took her to the intensive care unit, which was constantly growing with new technology and machines. Mrs. Raab spent 19 more years as a supervisor before she retired as a psychiatric supervisor. In 1988, she and her husband moved to Florida. Retired for only six weeks, Mrs. Raab realized she couldn’t stand not working. She went to the local hospital, Martin Memorial to get another job; she began working twelve hour night shifts on the surgical floor. After twelve more years of bedside nursing, she retired on February 28, 2000.
Mrs. Raab stayed retired the second time around, but she still feels connected to nursing. “The things you experience and the challenges you face as a nurse-you carry them with you,” Mrs. Raab says. “You never stop being a nurse.” Today she and her husband Bill are enjoying life in Florida. They have three children, three grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
When and why did you first want to become a nurse?
I had an interest in helping others since I was a little kid; I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. A woman I knew who was a cadet nurse at Adelphi also encouraged me to get into nursing; she always said “caring is contagious.” This motto has stuck with me through the years I wanted to go to a three-year program, but my father insisted that if nursing was what I wanted to pursue, I should get a baccalaureate degree. Looking back, my father really had the foresight to see how things were progressing in the workplace; people with degrees were moving up more quickly than those without degrees. I am so grateful to my father for encouraging me. My time at Adelphi was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.
Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi and your residencies?
One summer I spent my Saturdays in New York City as part of a Community Surveys course, taught by Mr. Howell. I remember him playing a little horn to get our attention; we would all laugh and people in the streets would look at us. It was a joyous time. We would attend different religious services to gain a better understanding of different cultures. It was such a great learning experience and really ahead of the times. Community Surveys was one of my favorite classes because so much knowledge was instilled in us, but at the same time it was a lot of fun.
I learned something important from each of my rotations. I particularly loved the operating room and surgery. Scrubbing in, we took the knowledge we had gained from the books and applied it to real-life situations; we learned so much. I also liked surgery because you could really see the impact it had on the patient…you could truly see the difference in the patient before and after surgery by actually being in the operating room and seeing what happened during surgery.
What are some changes you have seen in nursing throughout the years?
The knowledge we have gained from the medical advances being made is incredible! Advances have moved along at a startling pace. When I started nursing they didn’t have so many of the drugs they have today.
I remember providing post-operative care for patients. After surgery, patients would be in bed moaning and groaning; we would only start teaching them how to walk on the third day. Today these patients would be out of the hospital the same afternoon! Insurance companies want everyone in and out. Similarly, pre-operative teaching is so rushed. The patient is inundated with information and then told to go home and do this and that; it is all too overwhelming for the patient.
Today people getting involved in the field of medicine look at it as just a job. They see it as good money-they can set their schedules-they can’t wait to get out. In this generation, the patient is secondary, and that is not how it should be.
What advice would you give to today’s nursing students?
When patients are frightened, they cannot process what you are teaching them. Be patient. Remember that a smile appropriately displayed can quell all fears; allaying the patient’s fears is half the battle.
Always be prepared to face the unknown, and remain calm. If you maintain that calm you can approach anything.
Read the body language of the patient; you can learn so much just by being observant.
Every few months take a few days off in order to recharge.
Keep a positive attitude with yourself and others.