Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi and your residencies?
Some of the best memories were the days that we could bring our lunch and sit outside on the grass and talk, laugh, and dream about what the next few years would bring. We loved all the little things…driving to school, study groups; Sbarro’s was our meeting place every day. Patty was quick witted yet shy. She became secretary of the organization Student Nurses Acting for Progress (SNAP), and she was the Master of Ceremonies at the 1997 graduation pinning ceremony. Patty hated public speaking, yet she forced herself to do it because her friends asked her to.
Dr. Winter was not only one of Patty’s strongest supporters while Patty was going through the program; she was also one of her greatest inspirations. Patty never allowed her cancer to stop her once she got started. Dr. Winter began her relationship with Patty as a professor, but it grew to be so much more than that. One of the greatest compliments Patty ever received was when Dr. Winter said that she would allow Patty to care for her or her family one day because she was that confident and proud of her. If you ever went through Dr. Winter’s medical surgical lectures and realized the magnitude of information presented, you would understand how special it was for Patty to receive such a remark from such an amazing teacher.
Patty got to fulfill a dream because she was able to complete her education at Adelphi. Patty LOVED clinical; she loved being a student nurse and loved the fact that Winthrop saw such potential in her that they hired her as a new graduate. Patty was so very proud of herself, and she never allowed her illness to be a factor in her education or career.
What advice would you give to today’s nursing students?
One of the things I carry with me as I work each and every day is a statement that Patty made after working in hospice care, and just finishing her first internship. She said, “I don’t have to love every patient, but SOMEONE loves that patient.” I will never forget that.
“I remember once when Patty was admitted into the hospital after relapsing. She had a fever of 104 degrees, was shaking, and just felt terrible overall. The nurse that came in to do her admission was having a bad day. He had been stuck behind an accident on the Long Island Expressway and was late for his shift. “Things just can’t get any worse,” he said.
Patty was angry that he was so caught up in his own problems; her response was quick. She said, “You are standing upright and I am lying down. You got in your car and drove here today; I had no choice but to come here to fight for my life. I would trade places with you in a minute, but I would never wish this disease on anyone, so please get me some Tylenol and help me.”
After this incident we spoke many times about what we would tell new nurses and it was always the same: leave your problems at the door. If you are standing upright and were able to drive to work on your own, then be grateful, because you have so much to be grateful for. When you are on the LIE and there is an accident, pray for the people involved, and be thankful that it wasn’t you. Allow those who need you to have your undivided attention while you are with them.