Olney Central College alumnus Mary Correll, of Wakefield, was recently named a Nurse of the Year by Deaconess Health System, receiving the Florence Nightingale Award for Deaconess Midtown Hospital.
As stated in the award, “Florence Nightingale set the example of compassion, commitment to patient care and diligent hospital administration. This award is given in recognition of meritorious service of the nursing profession and is characterized by devotion, sincerity, dedication and compassion.“
“I was quite overwhelmed when my team leader called and told me I had received the award,” Correll said. “It was a real honor.”
Correll has been a nurse at Deaconess since August 2007, and works in the Neuro Medical Intensive Care Unit at Deaconess Midtown Hospital. She cares for patients undergoing treatment for brain tumors, strokes, respiratory pneumonia and septic shock.
“I’ve always wanted to be a nurse,” Correll said. “What I enjoy most is seeing people get better and well enough to be discharged. There is a satisfaction in knowing you helped them get better, especially when they have been in the ICU, where they are really sick and can be for a long time.”
Correll initially entered the healthcare field after high school. She worked as a CNA at Newton Rest Haven, but left on her doctor’s advice as she and her husband, Joe, were starting their family. In the intervening years, provided in-home care and started her own seamstry business.
It was Correll’s children, Adam and Brenna, who convinced her to pursue her nursing degree.
“My kids talked me into going back to school,” she said. “I started college with Adam, and Brenna and I graduated together in May 2007. It was hard. I hadn’t been in school for 20 years and I had to learn to study all over again.”
Correll is glad she chose to earn her nursing degree at OCC.
“I have no regrets,” she said. “It is a tough program, but good. The instructors were very helpful. I got acquainted with people in class and four of us formed a study group. Now, I wish I had gone back to school sooner. I would never have done it if not for the encouragement of my kids and Joe.”
During her career, Correll worked in a medical/surgical unit for five years. She also served on a medical/surgical/renal unit before transferring to the Neuro ICU.
“We are like family,” Correll said of her coworkers. “We are all friends and we take care of each other.”
Most recently, Correll has been caring for patients in the COVID-19 ICU Respiratory Unit.
“It has been very stressful because we lose a lot of patients,” she said. “It has been hard on our psyche. It is hard to describe. No one really understands the mental and physical toll it takes. We have patients on ventilators, paralyzed. They are extremely sick and it is happening every day. It’s also hard because they can’t have their families with them so we become their family. We are the ones who have to help keep them upbeat and positive.”