Pearl of Wisdom
"In caring for patients, always go with your "gut"-that inner voice that tells you something is not quite right. It is all of your knowledge, education, and experience that drive your practice. When it comes to educating students, remember that you were a nursing student once yourself."
About the Honoree
Caren is recognized for her high energy, dedication and commitment that she has brought to nursing for nearly 5 decades! She has been a role model of best practice to her students, colleagues, and professional relationships. She gives of herself and asks nothing in return. Her giving has also touched the people she encounters within the community.
Caren wanted to become a nurse ever since observing Mae Smith, RN class of 1914 at the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing, while taking care of her mother. When Caren was age 13, she became a candy striper (junior volunteer) at Bridgeport Hospital. She entered the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing in 1966, was Student Nurse of the Year, second runner up for the State of Connecticut in 1969, and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1969. As a graduate, she continued her education and worked as a staff nurse on a medical unit at Bridgeport Hospital until 1972. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BSN from the University of Bridgeport in 1972 and then became a nursing faculty at the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing. She worked in the Urology Unit at Bridgeport Hospital for twelve years and is certified in urological nursing (CURN) - then four years as a Staff Development Instructor. In 1998 she graduated Magna Cum Laude with an MSN from Sacred Heart University, and returned as nursing faculty to Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing until her retirement in 2017. In addition, she had earned the NLN Credential, Certified Nursing Educator (CNE), for excellence in teaching.
As nursing faculty, Caren exemplified professional nursing practice. She coordinated nursing skills laboratory instruction, performed clinical supervision and evaluation of level I and level II students in the areas of medical-surgical, maternal-child and pediatrics. She was an academic lecturer for the Asepsis Course for Surgical Technology Students. Caren's numerous activities and committee memberships include: Class & Yearbook Advisor, Faculty Development, Hospital Professional Clinical Ladder, Nursing Leadership, and Research.
As nursing professional practice is important to Caren, so is involvement in professional organizations. She is a member of CLN, NLN, ANA, and SUNA. She was the vice president of the MU Delta chapter of Sigma Theta Tau from 2001 until 2017. She is a member of the Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing Alumnae Association I and II; as an officer from1972 until present, including president of Alumnae I. Caren received the American Red Cross Hero Award for Extraordinary Personal Action in 2003 and received the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing in 2012.
An engaged community volunteer, Caren is a certified CPR instructor for the American Heart Association and for the American Red Cross. She currently is the Parish Nurse Co-coordinator in her church as well as a choir member and lector. She is on the Board of Directors of the Stratford Visiting Nurse Association, Inc.; and previously was a First Aid merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts, and a volunteer at the World Special Olympics.
Although Caren formally retired from the School in 2013, following a surprise retirement party by 150 of her students, she continued to contribute as an Adjunct Instructor until 2017. Now that Caren is "really retiring", she will volunteer at Bridgeport Hospital, conduct CPR classes, continue with the Parish Nurse Program, and have fun at the Senior Tap Classes at the Stratford Senior Center!
Congratulations Caren, we applaud all that you do for nursing in Connecticut!