Registered Nurse, Volunteer
After graduating from Kings County Hospital School of Nursing in 1966, Eileen Lentini worked as a pediatric nurse at Maimonides Hospital, and then at Downstate Medical Center, which included working in the newly formed neo-natal and pediatric intensive care unit. She married in 1967, and her first child was born in 1969, after which she took a break from nursing to raise her family. Ms. Lentini volunteered as a school nurse when her children were very young. She accrued college credits over the years and eventually matriculated at Adelphi. Ms. Lentini received her bachelor’s degree in 1994, her master’s degree in 1999, and her adult nurse practitioner license the same year. During her time at Adelphi she was inducted in the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Ms. Lentini worked for a couple of years as a per diem nurse at Nassau University Medical Center. In 1992, she joined the Visiting Nurse Association which allowed her to focus on one to one care, mostly with an older patient population. She earned board certification as a home health nurse from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. In retirement, when not spending time with her spouse, four children and nine grandchildren, Ms. Lentini serves as a volunteer with Rotacare on Long Island. Rotacare is an all volunteer organization providing free medical care to the uninsured.
When and why did you first want to become a nurse?
I entered nursing school in August 1963. I was sixteen soon to be seventeen. I wish I had a profound or even interesting reason why I chose a nursing career but at that time the all girls school that I graduated from presented three main options – secretarial (I did not want to start working full time), teaching (I had no interest in teaching) or nursing (it sounded as if I might like it, plus a good friend was also interested in nursing). Having said all that, I have never regretted my decision. Nurses often have a direct impact on the lives of their patients and the care that we provide offers us enormous satisfaction.
Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi?
I have fond memories of the months I spent working on my thesis with Dr. Marybeth Ryan, although at the time it just seemed liked a great deal of hard work. It was a challenging and time consuming project but one that left me with a great sense of accomplishment. I chose an educational program for nurses who care for homebound patients with pressure ulcers. Working on this project made me more fully aware of the importance and the need for evidence based protocols and guidelines. Being presented with the master’s project award at graduation made the memory even nicer.
Adelphi provided me with stronger communication, assessment and decision making skills, which are all vital components in providing patients with optimal health care. Although this is not a specific memory, it is more of an appreciation of my Adelphi education.
What are some changes you have seen in nursing through the years?
The advent of disposable equipment had a major impact on patient care. During my training we would sterilize used syringes and needles, make slippers for needy patients out of newspapers, and rarely wore gloves while performing procedures on patients.
The career opportunities in nursing have greatly expanded over the years. Nurses today have a vast and diverse amount of specialties to choose from offering far more autonomy than was possible in the past.
Interest and participation by nurses in research has grown a great deal since I was a student. At that time, little was mentioned about nursing research. Today, research done by nurses is an integral part of the profession. The knowledge acquired from nursing research has impacted not only on the quality of care provided to our patients but on the entire health care system.
What advice would you give to today’s nursing students?
Try to mentor with a nurse whose approach to patient care you value. Look for someone who would be willing to share with you her experience and knowledge. Having a mentor’s support will greatly enhance the start of your nursing career.