May 11, 2021

Two Nurses, Generations Apart, Reflect Upon the Nursing Profession

A Tribute to National Skilled Nursing Care Week

Agnes Haverty and Linda Keller love being nurses. Agnes, who recently turned a young 90, is a resident at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL). She worked as an RN for over 50 years at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Linda, age 63, is an MDS/MMQ nurse at Leonard Florence.

Agnes graduated from the Catherine Laboree School of Nursing and worked at  MGH her entire career, starting in the Neurology department, and then moving into Research. Linda Keller has been a nurse at the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea campus for eleven years, since its opening 2010. Prior to LFCL, she worked at the Katzman Family Center for Living (formerly Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home). Linda, a life-long resident of Winthrop, graduated from Chelsea Soldiers’ Home in the LPN program. Linda is beloved by residents and staff alike.

In honor of National Skilled Nursing Care Week, Linda asked Catherine to share her thoughts on nursing, the pandemic and what being a RN meant to her.

Linda Keller: Nursing encompasses so many experiences and emotions. For me, I wanted to become a nurse to bring a bit of happiness into my patients (residents) lives. Why did choose nursing?

Agnes Haverty.: My attraction to nursing started when I was severely burned at the age of five. I received wonderful care from the nurses. The experience started me thinking about being a nurse. I wanted to be just like the nurses who took care of me!

Linda Keller: Did you know other nurses before you decided to become a nurse?

Agnes Haverty: My sister was a nurse and I was excited to follow in her footsteps. I learned that that nursing is all about being patient and kind to everyone in your care. I tried to do that every single day. You can really make a difference in people’s lives.

Linda Keller: What I love most about my nursing career is that I’m able to bring happiness to my long-term care residents. Plus, I love working for an organization that constantly strives to improve itself.  What did you enjoy most about being a nurse?

Agnes Haverty: Working as a nurse means that every day is different. I looked forward to that. In fact, I loved being able to learn new things and apply my findings to my work. Certainly, I was never bored!

Linda Keller: What was the most difficult part of nursing for you?

Agnes Haverty: Working in the polio unit was incredibly difficult, especially with the children. It was a scary time, but it was important to be cheerful and compassionate for our patients and their families.

Linda Keller: The pandemic has been a challenging time. I worried about the isolation of our residents and the fact that they were not able to see their loved ones. Consequently it was important for me to spend time with our residents and let them know they were not alone. How do you think COVID-19 affected nurses?

Agnes Haverty: Nursing is hard all the time, but I could see that the pandemic was extremely stressful for nurses. From all my years  of working as a nurse, I have found that whenever nurses are called upon to step up to a challenge, they do just that. Without question.

Linda Keller: In honor of National Skilled Nursing Care Week, what would you like people to know about nursing?

Agnes Haverty: Nursing is not a job. Rather it is a calling and profession. I loved being a nurse.

View this story on The Chelsea Record.