Name: Mary Joan (Kolb) Farrell
Graduation Year: 1948
Hometown: Lafayette, Indiana
WHY DID YOU BECOME A NURSE?
I became a nurse for many reasons, but mostly because of the inspiration of others who were nurses. I have many memories from my youth of my mother telling stories about my great Aunt Polly who was a nurse in WW1 and died from influenza. As well, when I was a child, I had a blind neighbor that had a sister who was a nurse that came to visit and take care of her. She was incredibly kind and generous with me. I admired her greatly, and saw that her profession was one of compassion.
When I graduated from high school I began working for Purdue as a secretary and knew I didn’t enjoy it. My coworker was leaving to begin nurse’s training at St. Elizabeth, so I decided to join her.
WHAT IS YOUR FONDEST MEMORY FROM NURSING SCHOOL?
While I lived in the school, my fellow students and teachers became family to me. People cared for, supported and helped each other. One time when I was feeling particularly homesick, Sr Alveera gave me a ‘pepper-upper.’ Sr. Alveera was very strict and very smart, but this act of kindness also showed her deep caring for others. She ensured the school was a place of quality nursing education and sincere compassion.
HOW DID ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING PREPARE YOU FOR YOUR CAREER?
I was taught by exceptional teachers who always had the patient as the center of detail and taught that the patient deserved the best care possible. They emphasized the importance of giving skilled, loving and compassionate care.
ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT YOUR TIME AT ST. ELIZABETH SCHOOL OF NURSING?
During my first year as a student nurse (1st year ‘probie’), I was working in surgery when the doctor asked me for a hemostat. I didn’t know what that was, so I just passed him the biggest instrument I could find. He quickly told me to go sit in the corner, so I did!
As a head nurse, I always preferred St. Elizabeth graduates. I knew my own training was exceptional and that students are taught the skills until they mastered them. The nuns made sure students could apply their learnings quickly and adeptly. At times nurses have to think quickly and find a creative solution. This is possible because of the great training at the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing.
1949-1952: St. Elizabeth 1 North
1952-1955: St Elizabeth Prenatal (nights)
1958-1961: St. Elizabeth Float Nurse
1961: St. Elizabeth Intensive Care Unit
1961-1987: St. Elizabeth Intensive Care Unit and Cardiac Care Unit
- Helped establish first Cardiac Care Unit in a non-capital city in the Central United States
- Supervisor of Critical Care Units
- Supervisor of Progressive Care Unit
- Earned Bachelor of Science from St. Francis College
1987-1990: St. Elizabeth Assistant Director of Nursing/Quality Assurance
- Served as President of the St. Elizabeth School of Nursing Alumni Association and organized the annual luncheon event in 1998.
- Secretary of Board Indiana State Nurses Association
- Assisted Dr. Gripe at Purdue football and basketball games.