When I think about all the patients and their loved ones that I have worked with over the years, I know most of them don’t remember me nor I them, but I do know that I gave a little piece of myself to each of them and they to me and those threads make up the beautiful tapestry in my mind that is my career in nursing.”  -Donna Wilk Cardillo

In celebration of Nurses Week, Presby’s Inspired Life is sharing the stories of some of the many, amazing nurses that work in our communities. Claire is an LPN at Presby’s Rydal Park (Medical Center) community. She’s been a nurse for more than 25 years and has never dreamed of doing anything else! In the Q&A that follows, Claire shares some of the most rewarding aspects of her profession and one very special experience she had with a patient. 

  • What inspired you to become a nurse? I always just wanted to be a nurse. From the time I was very small I knew that’s what I wanted to be. I even wrote it in my 4th-grade yearbook. I have no idea why it was just something I always wanted to do.
  • Did you have a role model or mentor that encouraged you to pursue a career in nursing? If yes, who? Yes. She was a former army nurse who was also my teacher for my nursing assistants’ course, I just loved her. She was absolutely great.
  • What unique gifts and talents do you feel you bring to your role? I like to think I am upbeat. I try to go in with a smile every day, to every patient. I like to make them laugh. But other than that, I think I am just a really good nurse! I am a wound care specialist–which I love! Because wounds you can see. You see them heal. As a matter of fact, I hate when people go home before they healed.  Especially in the short-term rehab, I love to see the people improve and go home to live their life.
  • What inspires you the most about working with older adults? They have so many great stories to tell! If I had the time, I would sit down with every single one of them and listen to their stories. There is so much to learn from them.
  • What is the most rewarding aspect of being a nurse? It sounds cliché, but really what’s most rewarding is taking care of the patients/residents.  When you can put a smile on their face, even if it’s because you did something very small for them. Their response to you makes a big difference!
  • Do you have a memorable experience that touched you in a special way, either with a resident and/or a family? Quite a few… I had this one (rehab) patient—she was trake patient—totally alert and oriented. Every day I would clean her trake.  One day, she started choking. I had to hurry up and get the suction machine, to clear her airway. I could see in her eyes that she was so scared. And I just said “I got you, I got you. You aren’t going to die.” And she didn’t. I saved her. (She tells the story with tears in her eyes.)  That’s one of my favorites!.
  • What do you enjoy the most about working at Rydal? It’s close to home and everyone is so friendly. I really enjoy everyone I work with and that to me is so very important.