Paula, 72, of Brookdale Santa Fe in New Mexico, has had a long and accomplished career as a nurse. In high school she volunteered with infant care, and this was when she first realized that she wanted to be a nurse. She went to nursing school upon completing high school. “Nursing school was the best time of my life,” said Paula. “Fifty years ago, these young women became my family. We lived together, learned, and grew up together for three years. I was very young and it was the beginning of my career.” Fifty years later, Paula’s Wish of a Lifetime was to attend her 50th Nursing School reunion.
“I look back and I had a phenomenal career,” said Paula. As a nurse, she worked in oncology for a long time. She was inspired by how brave and grateful her patients were. Paula continued to work in many other areas of the nursing industry, such as nursing regulations, and even worked with Senator Hillary Clinton (New York Senator at the time) and had the opportunity to address Congress in Washington, D.C.
Outside of nursing, Paula continued to help others. For 25 years, Paula was very involved with the Arthritis Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association. She led support groups for patients and families to help them cope with illnesses. For fun, Paula enjoyed quilting. She was president of a nonprofit quilting organization that donated quilts to people in need. At her Brookdale community, Paula is very involved. “I spend a lot of time with the residents to make their lives better here,” said Paula. “That’s what I’ve done with all my life and I can’t stop now. If I did [stop], my life would be meaningless.”
Thanks to Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living, Paula attended her 50th Nursing School Reunion in Orlando, Florida. About her experience, Paula said, “It was wonderful to be reunited with those who I began my career. I’ve known them since we were so young. We were together at the beginning of their lives and now we’re at the end…We reconnected and told stories of when we were young and the stupid things we did…I feel a bit younger.” Wisdom that Paula would like to pass along to younger generations is “…You got to do things. You can’t sit around. Life is very short, but just make it really good.”