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  • Career fulfillment finally found in nursing

    At Rome Memorial Hospital and its affiliates, there are more than 250 dedicated nurses providing quality care for the community. Whether administering medications, monitoring vital signs, soothing discomfort or calming anxiety, nurses are vital to the quality care provided through Rome Memorial Hospital.

    National Nurses’ Week, May 6-12, is celebrated each year to recognize this profession that centers on caring for others. As the field of nursing keeps pace with the constantly changing world of medical care, the one aspect that has remained the same is the caring nature of the women and men who choose to become nurses.

    With quality nursing care always in demand, the need for new nurses also remains constant. As one registered nurse currently working in the medical/surgical department at Rome Memorial Hospital proves, you don’t have to decide to become a nurse when you are a young high school graduate. There is no age limit on the desire to care for others.

    Christal Benedict, of Rome, was unsure of a career path when she graduated from high school 40 some years ago. Ultimately she decided on becoming a French teacher, but she says she quickly realized teaching was not for her. After years of working in reservations for US Airways in Syracuse, Christal decided to take a chance and pursue another ambition she had once considered… nursing.

    While working as a ward clerk and nursing assistant in the emergency department at Rome Memorial Hospital, Christal enrolled in nursing school. Once she started studying nursing, Christal felt that she had found the occupation that would give her the fulfillment she had been looking for. When she finished her nursing education and finally became a registered nurse, Christal was 52 years old.

    For the past 9 years, Christal has worked as a registered nurse in the 2 East medical/surgical department at Rome Memorial Hospital. She says her only regret about choosing a career in nursing was not choosing it sooner.

    “Being able to help people in their journey through life is just an amazing blessing,” Christal said. “We work in an area of the hospital where people are recovering, whether from surgery or from a serious illness. It is so satisfying to be able to help my patients and see them recover.”

    The fun of nursing for Christal is being able to interact with people. “No one wants to be in the hospital, but I like to bring in some humor whenever I can to lighten the mood and raise their spirits when they are anxious or uncomfortable. Nursing care is not just about medical treatment.”

    Nursing care continues to evolve and today’s nurses have to keep up new technology and techniques. Nurses at Rome Memorial Hospital devote hours each year to continuing education and the hospital also hosts special educational presentations for the nursing staff.

    “Even though I have not had as long a career as some of the people I work with, I have seen some changes in nursing just since I began,” Christal said. “Change is good though, we are using new computer systems that ensure patient safety and they are always coming up with new ideas in healthcare that are improving patient care. I love to learn about new technologies and products.”

    Starting a new career later in life may seem like a risky move, but for Christal it was a risk worth taking.

    “I love being a nurse,” Christal said. “I enjoy taking care of my patients, I love the people I work with and the family atmosphere at Rome Memorial Hospital, and I’m motivated to keep learning. For me, nursing is very interesting and very exciting.”

    “The ANA (American Nurses Association) has designated 2017 as the ‘Year of the Healthy Nurse’ promoting ‘Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit,’” said Durinda Durr, RN, MS, Vice President Clinical Services/Chief Nursing Officer at Rome Memorial Hospital. “It’s all about celebrating nurses like Christal who lead the charge for health and wellness. We recognize and honor all of our nurses and thank them for their passion for caring, resilience under pressure, and dedication to providing quality and safe care to our patients, their families and our community.”

    Christal Benedict 
    TECHNOLOGY IN NURSING – Registered nurses at Rome Memorial Hospital,
    from left, Marnie Burch, Ramona Brown, and Christal Benedict, use computer
    programs to monitor the distribution of medications to their patients. Christal says
     that even in the short time that she has been in nursing, new technologies are
     ensuring patient safety and improving patient care.