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Adonica Lee

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My first job in a hospital was as a secretary in the Pharmacy at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, NY in 1965-1966. When I attended the Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing, I worked as an aide at the Hospital for Special Surgery. My first nursing license was as a LPN in 1971; I earned my RN and BSN in 1972; was awarded a MS from nursing program at University of Maryland in 1975. My first passion in nursing was intensive care; ICU was a new world in the early 70s, being an outgrowth of recovery room. I worked in the neurological/neurosurgical ICU, the surgical ICU and the medical ICU at Bellevue Hospital. I loved that world; a boyfriend (an intern) and I used to work for fun in the ER and the Prison Ward of Bellevue. So much drama, excitement and fun!!

After marrying a Medical Resident who transferred from Bellevue to the University of Maryland program, I worked in the Surgical ICU at the Loch Raven VA hospital in Baltimore. During my graduate schooling, I worked at the new Shock-Trauma Unit at the University of Maryland Hospital. Cutting edge trauma medicine thrilled me to the marrow. But my husband disliked my shift work so much that I ended up moving to community health nursing, at the Instructive Visiting Nurse Association in Baltimore.

What I love best about community nursing is being a guest in the patient's home and seeing not only who they really were, but also getting to see the impact of any changes they made as a result of my care.

After my divorce, I moved to upstate New York and worked for 4 years at the Ulster County Health Department, in charge of the townships of Marbletown and Rosendale.  I loved that too. 

After a brief marriage and stint teaching community health nursing at the University of Massachusetts, I moved to Philadelphia, where I spent 6 semesters being a clinical instructor in medical-surgical nursing at the Temple School of Nursing. But my heart was yearning to be in maternity, although I feared moving from one area of nursing to another.  A nurse friend encouraged me so, in 1986 I started working in Paradise, at the Booth Maternity Center in Philadelphia. 

Paradise because Booth was a hospital run by women for women. The midwives hired the back-up doctors, and were in charge. I made connections there that still enrich my life today. 

The whole focus of my career changed, and now I still love working with mothers, babies, and families as a private practitioner and the whole healthcare system as a teacher and policy maker.

I am grateful for the nurses' license that has shaped my career, given me a strong foundation for the work that I love,  and continues to enrich my life.