NEW YORK NURSE: May 2009
by Randi Hoffman
It’s not unusual for nurses to enter the profession because they admire a friend or family member who is a nurse. Sometimes that inspiration comes from a mother to a daughter.
Daughters may follow in their mothers’ footsteps, but they also choose their own paths within the nursing profession. In celebration of both Nurses Week and Mother’s Day, we offer three family stories.
“The younger generation of nurses, they’re not putting up with a lot of the nonsense I put up with as a young nurse,” said Allyson Selby, a rehabilitation nurse and bargaining unit chair at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. Selby’s daughter, Adesia King, 23, recently graduated from nursing school at Hampton University in Virginia and now works in the stroke unit at Brooklyn Hospital Center. The father of the family also works at BHC as an operating room nurse.
“I first wanted to do business management and law, but then I wasn’t that interested in the curriculum,” said King. “When I tried nursing, I really started to like it. And I liked it even more when I started the clinicals.” She said she hopes to someday open her own practice as a nurse practitioner in women’s health.
“Of course I was disappointed when she said she wanted to study business,” said Selby. “I was very successful in changing her mind to nursing. Our family has a long history of nurses. I knew she would be able to get a job as a nurse. I explained to her that you can be a nurse and own your own business. She did her research and then she agreed.”
As for the changes that have taken place since she began nursing, Selby said, “The nursing field is much easier than when I became a nurse. Nowadays you don’t mix your own medications, the pharmacy does it.” And speaking about today’s young nurses she said, “They will leave a job quicker. I would wait and wait for a change. And they’re more adapted to computers.”
She added, “Adesia has made her mom and dad very proud by becoming a nurse. I know she’s going to be great nurse.”
Andrea Montalvo has spent her entire life at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. She was born at the Jack D. Weiler Hospital of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, part of Montefiore, and volunteered as a candy striper throughout high school.
She gave birth to her two children at Montefiore and her husband was employed at the hospital when she met him. Now a pediatric nurse, Montalvo first worked at Montefiore as a phlebotomist and an EKG technician. She said, “All I knew of nursing was emergency room nursing and I didn’t want to do that,” she said.
Montalvo is the only child of Doreen Lleras, who has worked as the head operating room nurse at Einstein for 30 years. “When she graduated from high school, she wanted to be a speech pathologist,” Lleras said. “She studied it and didn’t like it. She went to work as a phlebotomist. Then one afternoon she came home and said she wanted to be a nurse. We sat down and had a talk. I told her, ‘you work nights and weekends,’ but she said she wanted to be a nurse.”
“I got her a summer internship in the pediatric ICU at Montefiore,” Lleras said. “When she finished her internship, she said, ‘This is what I want to do,’ and never looked back.”
“I’ve worked in the infant and toddler unit my entire nine years as an RN and I love my job,” Montalvo said. “Kids are resilient. Babies don’t know what they don’t have. If they don’t have something, they compensate. They’re amazing, even with their limitations.”
Recently Lleras had an urgent health problem that required an emergency medical procedure. “At first I didn’t want to tell my daughter,” she said. “But when I did, she was my personal RN, she was my advocate.”
“My mother’s advice about nursing was to stay safe, be happy, and if something isn’t working in a particular area, you can switch,” Montalvo said. “She’s always been there to support me. She helped me pick a job where I could succeed.”
Lois Bunting, a home care intake coordinator at Montefiore, has two daughters who are nurses. Nicole, 31, works in maternal/child nursing at Sound Shore Medical Center and Timika, 29, works in telemetry at Einstein. She also has a granddaughter entering nursing school, adding yet a third generation.
“I’m very proud of my daughters,” said Lois. “I was surprised at first when they both became nurses, but I was glad they would have stability and a good career. Being a Capricorn, I do things that are definite and secure.”
“I have been away from the bedside for a long time, but my position still gives me the chance to interact with patients and advocate for them” she said. “I like the autonomy of the intake position. I have a voice, and I collaborate with other nurses.”
She added that in the 34 years she has been nursing, “I’ve seen the change on the floors, the rapid turnover and the way the patients are discharged at a faster pace. You can advocate for the patients, but it’s harder now.”
Nicole said, “I pretty much always wanted to be a nurse. I was inspired by my mother. It shows how much of a role model my mother is.”
And Timika added, “If we have rough day, we come home and vent to each other.”