Nora Loprieno is originally from Lake Hill, New York. She has lived in Saugerties for the past five years.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
I had a car accident and was treated so poorly as a patient at a local hospital that I decided no one should be treated that way, and if it was in my power, I’d make sure of it.
What kind of training have you had?
I started my education at Ulster County Community College. I had a teacher there tell me I had passed a clinical “by the skin of my teeth,” and when I asked her what I had done wrong, she told me to “go home and think about it.” My thought was I was there to learn, she was there to teach; so I went home and decided they should not get any more of my money. I got in touch with BOCES for their LPN program, which I passed with flying colors.
What is the best thing about being a nurse?
There are so many rewards in this profession that it’s hard to pick just one. I love to see folks get better and go home, but I’ve also been privileged to help other people die with dignity.
What is the most difficult aspect of nursing for you?
I tend to get attached to people so it can be very hard if they are dying; that said, if I don’t grieve a bit when a patient passes, then I need to quit.
What qualities are important in a nurse?
Empathy is the most important one. You can’t be squeamish either. A sense of humor helps. You have to know how to not take things personally.
What stands out in your mind as your most memorable experience, good or bad, since becoming a nurse?
The worse experiences are always the “what ifs.” I had a patient sign himself out against medical advice because he was worried about who would take care of his wife. He died that night and I’ve always wondered if there was something else I could have said or done to make him stay.
Describe a really good day.
The best days are when people go home and you never see them again.
Describe a really bad day.
There are so many to pick from. One time I was floated to ICU and there were two code reds at the same time. Another time I worked a 12-hour shift with two nurses who were not trained in CPR and when there was a code situation there was only me. That’s not a hospital you want to go to.
What advice can you offer someone going into the nursing field?
First, don’t do it for the money; do it because you honestly want to help people. Secondly, pick a school carefully. Pick a school for its teaching reputation.
How’s the money?
Pay as an LPN is not terrific, I think truck drivers get paid more, but for me, it’s definitely more rewarding than money.