Name: Carolyn Bessler
Graduation Year: 1963
Hometown: Monticello, Indiana
WHY DID YOU BECOME A NURSE?
As a child of the 60s, we all wanted to make the world a better place. I felt like nursing was my way to do that. It was my avenue to bring peace and love into the world.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING?
Being a Catholic girl, St. Elizabeth School of Nursing was the only school that I even considered! It was the place to be and the diploma program made everyone the best nurses.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST MEMORY FROM NURSING SCHOOL?
My favorite memories from nursing school all stem from the wonderful relationships that I formed with the men and women in my class. The camaraderie was really something amazing.
Another good memory I have is volunteering to help Father Roderick and giving communion to the patients in our full uniform and capes. The ceremony itself was special and even more so that I was able to be a part of it!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW NURSE?
To new nurses, I would encourage them to always keep their options open. Nursing is such a diverse field with so many different avenues – the sky is the limit. Be like a sponge, absorb everything you learn before making a decision on your path.
HOW DID ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?
We had so much hands-on experience at St. Elizabeth School of Nursing and wonderful instructors who took a personal interest in the students. In many cases, we were put in charge immediately after graduation because people knew we were St. Elizabeth nurses and they trusted us.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN THE FIELD AFTER YOU COMPLETED YOUR DEGREE?
I was the charge nurse on the GYN floor at St. Elizabeth.
WHAT IS THE TOUGHEST PART ABOUT BEING A NURSE?
In retrospect, always feeling like you didn’t or couldn’t do enough was tough. Sometimes it’s hard to accept what happens in nursing and striving for perfection is common but not achievable.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT WORK?
I enjoy spending time with my family and going camping with friends! One of my favorite things to do is volunteer with the Indiana West Central Nurse Honor Guard.
The Nurse Honor Guard is a group of nurses that get together to honor fellow nurses that have passed away. We stand guard by the fallen nurse, in full uniform, to show our support and respect during visitation. We then have a short ceremony, a small prayer and a last roll call for the nurse during their funeral service. It really is a wonderful way to honor those in our profession.
I really want to get the word out about this group and encourage all nurses in the area to get involved! I also want to get the word out to families so that the Nurse Honor Guard can be invited to more funeral services to honor those who have passed on.
Check out the Indiana West Central Nurse Honor Guard Facebook page for more information!