Family Portraits Reflect a Mother’s Love and Nursing’s Legacy

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By E’Louise Ondash, RN, contributor 

May 9, 2012 - Mother's Day--celebrated on Sunday, May 13, this year--has a particularly special meaning to these mother-child duos who not only share a family bond, but a professional one as well. Here, these dedicated nurses talk about the “family business” and tell how they’ve inspired and admired each other.

Mother: Maryanne Tarasco, RN, BSN, CPAN
Daughter: Emily Tarasco, RN, BSN
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Md.

Maryanne Tarasco was only 16 when she entered nursing school at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, but she knew she had made the right career choice.

Nursing Legacies
Maryanne Tarasco, RN, BSN, CPAN, (R) heard the “calling” of nursing at age 16 and passed her love of the profession on to her daughter, Emily Tarasco, RN, BSN.

“I believe nursing was a calling,” explained the interim nurse manager of pre- and post-op anesthesia at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. “I think a lot of nurses have that calling.”

It’s been 35 years since graduation and Maryanne is still with Union Memorial.

“I love my job. I love being a nurse. I don’t know what else I would do--and I’d like to think that I influenced my daughter.”

Daughter Emily Tarasco was an eighth grader when she was first exposed to the hospital world as a volunteer in the recovery room where her mother worked.

“It was my mom’s idea that I work there,” said the emergency room nurse, “and I found I liked the environment.”

Emily eventually earned a paying job in recovery, then earned her CNA and transferred to the emergency room, where she worked throughout college. She is there today because “I like the fast-paced atmosphere.”

Emily credits her mother for her choice of profession.

“She had a big influence on me but she never pushed me into it,” she said. “I’m lucky to have her. She’s really good at her job and she’s always a good person to ask questions.”

The compliments go both ways.

“I’m glad my daughter is in nursing,” Maryanne said. “She has the right personality. She is very caring and loves Union Memorial.”

Mother:  Margy McMorrow, RN, BSN
Daughter: Jeannie Kenny, RN 
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Md.

Jeannie Kenny was only 8 or 9 years old when she first accompanied her mother, Margy McMorrow, to NICU reunions. The parties were held to celebrate the lives of the babies for whom the NICU staff had cared.

Nursing Legacies
Margy McMorrow, RN, BSN, (L) and Jeannie Kenny, RN. Jeannie was introduced to the nursing community at age 9 when her mother took her to NICU patient reunions.

“The patients would say how much (my mother) had helped them,” recalled Jeannie, a patient care coordinator.

And nothing has changed over the years.

“She is very dedicated and cares so much about the hospital and the patients.”

Margy has worked at Union Memorial for 34 years--in admitting, at the nursing school, and in orthopedics and obstetrics; she currently is director of case management.

“Nursing had allowed me to be at home with my children and it has certainly helped with the family financially,” Margy says. “I think (Jeannie) saw how much nursing did for us as a family and how much I enjoyed working as nurse, and I think she saw Union Memorial as a terrific place to work.”

Jeannie confirms that her mother had considerable influence on her career choice.

“She would talk about things that happened at the hospital and I was always fascinated with it,” she says. “I like the atmosphere at the hospital and seeing what she did when I visited her. I really looked up to her and how much her patients liked her. I got my work ethic from her. She is very dedicated and cares so much about the hospital and the patients. People always say, ‘Oh, we just love your mother.’ I’m very proud of her.”

Mother: Doreen Lleras, RN, ORNC – Montefiore Hospital, Bronx N.Y.
Daughter: Andrea M. Montalvo, RN, CPN - The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, N.Y.

To say that Andrea Montalvo has roots in Montefiore hospitals is a bit of an understatement.

Nursing Legacies
Doreen Lleras, RN, ORNC, a 40-year nurse veteran, took her daughter, Andrea Montalvo, RN, CPN, to work with her at an early age. “She is my inspiration,” her daughter says.

She was born there, worked there as a candy striper during high school, had jobs as a phlebotomist and EGK technician, met her husband there and gave birth to her two daughters there. As if that weren’t enough, Andrea eventually became a pediatric nurse at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, in large part thanks to her mother, Doreen Llaras, who worked at the hospital for 40 years.

“My mother was my inspiration,” Andrea says, “She would work crazy hours, and thanks to (Montefiore’s) support, I got to hang out at the hospital. My mother introduced me to medicine.”

Doreen recently retired after 40 years in the OR and now works per diem. She most recently was head nurse in cardiac surgery. Growing up, she had no mentors in nursing, but as a pediatric patient, she had a lasting impression of the nurses who cared for her. As a single mother, Doreen gives credit to nursing for allowing her

“She was very much influenced by her upbringing,” she says. “Andrea was going down the path to speech pathology, then found it wasn’t what she wanted. She got a job as a phlebotomist, then came home one day and announced she wanted to be a nurse. I’m extremely proud of her accomplishments. She is a wife, a mother and a homemaker and still has energy to keep going.”

Andrea’s oldest daughter has mentioned an interest in nursing, so perhaps the family tradition will continue.

Mother: Kathy Sullivan, MS, RN-BC
Son: William Sullivan, RN, BA 
MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore, Md.

Nursing Legacies
Kathy Sullivan, MS, RN-BC, and son William Sullivan, RN, BA, at William's graduation in 2008. William earned a BA in drama before discovering his aptitude for nursing.

Will Sullivan took a circuitous route to find his place in nursing. He first earned a degree in drama, but after his 2004 graduation, it was difficult to find work. A year later, his mother, Kathy Sullivan, suggested he might “think about nursing.”

“My mother always liked nursing,” says Will, a staff nurse in the ER. “She told me it was a good line of work for someone like me. We’re very much alike. She’s very empathetic and I like taking care of people. I wouldn’t have considered nursing if it weren’t for her.”

According to Kathy, “Will was a compassionate kid always worried about everyone else. That’s why I told him to think about nursing.”

During his final year of nursing school, Will enrolled in an extern program at Union Memorial where both he and his mother, director of nursing education and development, work today. With a CNA license, he learned many skills that serve him well today.

“I like the faster pace of the ER,” he says. “I like the feeling of sending people out better than they came in.”

Mother: Nancy Cimino, RN, BS, CEN
Daughter: Sarah Bayne, MSN, FNP-BC
MedStar Union Memorial, Baltimore, Md.

As a child on family vacations, Sarah Bayne remembers hearing her mother, Nancy Cimino, saying an extraordinary thing.

“She would say ‘I can’t wait to get back to work,’” related Sarah, a palliative care nurse practitioner. “Not many people really miss their job so much that they can’t wait to get back to work. It’s a family joke that she can’t be off work too long.”

Apparently some of the enthusiasm rubbed off on Sarah, who found her path to nursing after considering other careers.

“She was going to be a lawyer, then a doctor, then pre-med, but she decided she liked the nursing track better,” explained Nancy, a veteran nurse manager of the emergency department. “She never heard me say anything negative about nursing and I think that affected her. She and I both understand that it’s all about the needs of the patient and building trust.”

Even though nursing has “probably been ingrained in me,” Sarah said, “I’ve always liked nursing in general. Working in palliative care, I like the fact that I can sit down and talk to the patient and can take all the time I need. I can make people feel better even if their illness is not curable.”

Nancy says she is proud of her daughter and feels that more mothers should encourage their children to go into nursing. “They see the sacrifice [we’ve] had to make working holidays and weekends, but a lot of us have really enjoyed our careers.”



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