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Stories from Our Nurses

University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Memorial Hospital nurses join our team from all types of backgrounds and for many different reasons. Hear from some our of our current nurses on what drew them to our profession and why they chose URMC and SMH to advance their nursing careers.

I Am Here for a Reason.

"Nursing is something that found me. I didn’t grow up thinking that I was going to be a #nurse. I was the kid that rescued a stray cat. I was a helper when the neighbor needed something. I didn’t realize until later that this is exactly what I should be doing."

Josh Evans started working as an LPN (licensed practical nurse) at our Strong Memorial Hospital in 2016. He was part of the inpatient phlebotomy team and did blood draws for about a year, until he was asked to serve in an assistive role, helping nurses on the medical-surgical unit with various tasks. He loved the work and the patients so much that he went back to school and became an RN in May of 2020. He then served as a staff nurse and was recently encouraged to consider management. He jumped at the opportunity and just started his role as nurse manager in the 7-3600 medical surgical unit a few weeks ago.

"I want people to know that if you come to URMC and you are diligent and interested in advancing your career the sky is the limit; there is so much opportunity and so much support. I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, and I’ve never had so much support in my life, ever."

"For nurses, these are trying times – our days can be tense and stressful. But, when you remember that you are caring for someone who needs you, the stress subsides. I know that I am here for a reason and that the person in front of me needs my care. It is an honor to do what I do."

They Saved Her Life. Now She Saves Lives.

When Juanita was 17, gunfire erupted at a New Year’s Eve party.

A bullet hit her heart.

Our teams here at Golisano Children's Hospital rushed to get her to the operating room, where surgeons repaired her heart. They had to leave the bullet in place for 9 months before they could safely remove it.

Today Juanita is a nurse in our Strong Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, near where her life was saved in 2004.

"Who knew that I would be here saving lives in the same place my life was saved! This is right where I was brought back by the grace of God. A huge shout out to our ER staff, who work tirelessly to save lives. They don't always see how someone turns out after we send them out, but they have a success story right among them."

"My Angels Made That Happen"

We are biased but Wilmot nurses are so special! Cori Palazzolo has ovarian cancer and she recently shared a Strong Star (a special recognition program) to tell us about one of her favorite nurses, Annie Steele, RN, who works in the Wilmot Cancer Center Infusion Center.

"This is my all time favorite nurse, Annie. She was the one that took care of me the day after my mom passed. I will never forget that day. She made one of my hardest days of treatment better. Just by her compassion and genuine love and support. I felt it from her all day. It was a tough one. But she made it better. Today. Guess who is my nurse? Yup! Annie! I do have to think my mom had a lil hand in her being my nurse for this long day (13 hours, clinical trial). She told me that she usually doesn’t work on Thursday but they needed her. Yup. I needed her. And my Angels made that happen. How cool is that! My cancer is back, it was my 1st infusion and she made me feel very safe and loved. Like I was in my momma’s arms."

Thank you to nurses like Annie and to patients like Cori, for trusting us with your care.

It's Hard Being a Nurse, But...

Lauren Stansberry is an ICU nurse at Strong Memorial Hospital. She recently shared a moment that turned an exhausting day into one of the most rewarding:

"Being a #nurse is hard. Being a trauma ICU nurse is even harder. We are tired, burned out, and even more stressed with the surge in traumas post-pandemic. Everyone is out and about, and as you can imagine, car accidents and crime have surged.

I am reminded of a patient who wrote on a clipboard (he's unable to speak) that he purchased something special for me and our unit as a "thank you" for all that we have done for him. He reached out and held my hand and cried, which of course, made me cry.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t get burned out sometimes. It’s easy to get impatient, frustrated, and angry with why people do the things they do. Sometimes I question why I chose the job that I do when lately it’s been constant running and can be emotionally and physically exhausting.

This is a reminder that yes, this job and being a nurse is hard, and can truly push you to your limits sometimes (a lot of times lately).

But we do this job because we love to help people, we want to save people, and we are here because they need us and their families need us, on the worst days of their lives."