Young Rush Nurses Take the Lead

Rush University Medical Center is widely recognized as a leader in nursing excellence, and that leadership starts early.

The Illinois Nurses Foundation and the Illinois Healthcare Action Coalition recently chose eight nurses and nursing faculty members at Rush for the organization’s inaugural 40 Under 40 Emerging Nurse Leader Award winners. Only one other institution in Illinois had more than one nurse who received the award, which was given to honor leadership and commitment well beyond the nurses’ years.

Learn more about the nurses and the work they do:

A ‘Minuscule’ Sacrifice to Help Fight Pediatric Cancer

10506655_10152634864171441_3601000187279877683_oBy Tanya Friese

I consciously joined the Navy just before the first Gulf War because I had no children and did not see the need for those who had families to risk the consequences of service. Friends and colleagues came back diagnosed (as adults) with pediatric cancers. They did not receive medals, rather a diagnosis that typically resulted in an amputated limb.

I went back to school, as a disabled veteran, to become a nurse to care for those who often have little voice in their prognosis. In the pediatric ICU at Rush, I have cared for children dealing with the ramifications of a cancer diagnosis. I encounter these brave souls as I teach our nursing students in the community.

In the military, one obviously faces danger and encounters enemies both foreign and domestic — often on a daily basis. That is what we signed up for — what we pledged our loyalty to. Children (and their families, however defined) never enlisted in a diagnosis that begins with the big “C.”

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Nurses at Rush: What the Patients Are Saying

Tower_floors_11-9_092The most gratifying aspect of Rush’s Facebook page is the positive feedback we get from patients and their families. Since it’s National Nurses Week, we’re sharing a few comments they posted recently about the nursing staff at Rush.

  • Once again I’m in Rush sweating out the biopsy results. And once again I have to tell anyone listening that the nursing staff on 10 and 11 Kellogg are the best there is. … No matter how rotten I feel or rotten my attitude is, they manage to cheer me up, and for that I again say thanks so much. You ladies (well folks, there is a guy or two in this mix as well and they are just as good) are the poster children for angels of mercy.
  • I cannot begin to tell you how great the nurses and the ER room were. I almost hated to leave. The nurses were so kind and attentive. They were just great! They kept me updated and made sure that I was OK. … I would highly recommend the Rush ER to anyone.
  • I came in for a three-day stay to run another course of chemotherapy. I was amazed at how well I was treated. The nursing staff at Rush is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It’s very hard for cancer patients to keep up their spirits, but the nurses there do their very best to keep you in a better mood while providing superb medical care. Ladies and the occasional gentleman, thank you all.
  • A BIG thank you to all of the nurses on the transplant floor! All of you were truly amazing!
  • Thank you to all the nurses, especially to those who took care of me and my son during labor and after delivery.
  • All the nurses we had for my husband’s cancer treatment were wonderful. Thank you!
  • The nurses who took care of me after my spinal fusion surgery were amazing! God bless you all!
  • To the nurses and PCTs on ninth floor north you helped me through the scariest time in my life!


Amazing Nurse Finalist ‘a Selfless and Giving Person’

Mary Pat Serrano, RN, is a Rush pediatric intensive care nurse and one of 10 national finalists for Johnson & Johnson’s Amazing Nurses 2013. She was nominated by Rush colleague Jennifer Wolf, RN, who wrote the following introduction:

Mary Pat Serrano

Mary Pat Serrano

Mary Pat Serrano is not only an excellent Pediatric ICU nurse, she is also a truly genuine person who has the ability to build rapport with her patients and families like no other nurse I have ever worked with in my 12 years as a nurse in the PICU.

Mary Pat has an infectiously positive attitude that always sets the tone for the rest of the staff. And, whether she’s helping her peers or lending her patients and their families a shoulder to cry on, Mary Pat is always there — no questions asked.

During November 2012, an oncology patient was distraught about starting chemotherapy and losing her hair. To cheer her up, Mary Pat told the patient that she would shave her own head so that they could be bald together. The patient didn’t believe her. That is, not until Mary Pat arranged for a staff member to come to the patient’s room with hair trimmers.

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Veteran, Rush Faculty Member: ‘What is My Identity?’

Photo by Jason Chiou, Rush Photo Group

Photo by Jason Chiou, Rush Photo Group

By Tanya Friese

What is your identity? Identity is a multifaceted concept rooted in culture, religion, sexual orientation, profession, personal philosophy, social roles in society and many other forces driven by nature and environment. There is no right or wrong answer. How I define myself may change over time and may be different than how others perceive me.

I am a faculty member at Rush University College of Nursing. I teach public health, community-based mental health, epidemiology and biostatistics and conduct research to improve the quality of life for people with intellectual/developmental disabilities. I am also a retired noncommissioned officer of the United States Navy, a hospital corpsman, and a 100 percent disabled Gulf War veteran. So what is my identity?

Many of us (current and former service members) are still trying to figure this out. I am fortunate to have the support of Rush College of Nursing and Rush University Medical Center embrace me holistically as the complex human I am.

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From the Archives: Nursing Through the Years

In celebration of National Nurses Week, we look back at photos from the Rush Archives from the nursing programs and hospitals that eventually became part of Rush University Medical Center.

From the Archives: Christmas Caroling, 1938


This image, which appeared in the December 1939 issue of the Presbyterian Hospital Bulletin, shows student nurses singing carols in a hospital corridor on Christmas morning, 1938.

“Care is taken not to disturb any seriously ill patients,” the caption explains, “but all others seem to regard this as a happy way of ushering in the Christmas day that is to be spent in the hospital.”

Presbyterian Hospital later became part of Rush University Medical Center.