Living Our Witness

What motivated you to move from nursing to a more administrative and teaching role?

It’s always been on my list to get a doctorate. I just have this passion for continuing my education and to really help healthcare, whatever avenue I’ve been working in. I’ve had a lot of different positions where I’ve been able to be supportive in a leadership role. I really do feel like leadership’s a calling. Not everyone wants to be leaders.

With all the challenges in health care lately, do you notice less interest in the field?

We’ve really gone through some black eyes in the last couple of years with COVID. There is so much love and passion around healthcare and nursing, and really all health positions. We are there to care for the sick. You talk about the mercy of God, right? Caring for the most vulnerable population. And whatever capacity that is, if you’re having a baby, if you’re sick with mental health issues, maybe it’s mom or dad or having a stroke, we are there to journey with that person through that life tragedy or happiness or whatever those scenarios are. If people really would start to feel that social justice (call), I think we could get a lot more people back into the field.

How do you safeguard yourself against burnout?

Remembering to take that little bit of time for yourself, too. If we don’t take care of us first, we can’t care for others. So it’s not selfish to be a little selfish. Sometimes it’s a five-minute reflection. I like to journal — that’s my down time, my spiritual listening time. We have to listen to what God has to say to us.

Do you practice this with your students as well?

I’ll say, “you need to take five minutes per day.” Set a timer, get up five minutes early, whatever. And just either pray and, if praying is not your thing, because not everyone’s on the same spiritual journey, just sit with your eyes closed for five minutes and just listen. Open the window, listen to the birds, hear the wind, take a cup of coffee outside on the back porch, anything just to give you that five minutes of self-reflection. We have to teach those basics in every level of our lives because we all have different stages we’re journeying through. But for nurses, we’ve just got to be focused on also caring for us so we can pour out our hearts to others.

Nursing is such a charism. What made you decide to move into a more administrative and teaching role?

Leadership is a charism, too. I just always had this passion to help others. If I can be a good leader for them, they’re going to be good leaders to their patients. They’re going to find out how to problem solve or use resources that are a little bit different. I’ve always loved that. If I can make nurses be better nurses, then my job’s fulfilled when I die.

What prayers or devotions do you turn to for strength?

I love the rosary. So Marian Mary, our mother. When I took this particular position back in May, I just had this overwhelming sense to really pray the rosary daily for the nursing program. I’ve always had a strong devotion to the rosary and to the Divine Mercy Chaplet. It’s what got me through my doctorate.

You’ve also recently just joined The Living Rosary. What is that?

Our parish priest just brought it to us for October for the month of Mary. Basically what you do is you sign up and then this organization, which is obviously not-for-profit, sends you a booklet, all the material. It was initialized by the pope around 1825. The consecration is my decade, and I have to say that every day for the rest of my life. And there’s other people assigned to that group. So we do it as a parish, but you could just do it for yourself, and they assign you to a group. And so the power of unity of prayer is really what this group is doing — that we know when we pray in numbers, the devil doesn’t like that.

Do you have any advice as the mother of adult Catholics for those of us still in the trenches?

Lots of prayer and lead by example. That’s all we can do. We can guide our sheep and hope our sheep come with us. Know that there’s cycles of good and bad with that, but we just keep (inviting) and encouraging.