Alumni Insight: 10 Questions with School of Nursing and College of Nursing Graduate Pat Steele Skunda

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Name: Pat Steele Skunda

Year of graduation from Mount Carmel School of Nursing: 1972

Year of graduation from Mount Carmel College of Nursing: 2010 (BSN). I will graduate in December 2014 from the MCCN Master’s Program.

Current hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Professional highlights: I have been employed at Mount Carmel West Hospital for nearly 43 years, including as a Unit Director for 12 years on the Cardiac and Medical Step-down units. I’ve been in my current role, a night shift Nursing Supervisor, for over 22 and a half years.

When did you first feel the call to be a nurse? I have always wanted to be a nurse – since I was in grade school. When I was little, I was taping up stuffed animals, pretending that they were injured. My mother was a nurse and I wanted to be one like her. There was no other career that I was interested in as I was growing up.

What television show do you have to DVR every week? “The Blacklist,” because it reminds me of a lot of James Patterson’s books.

What is your favorite memory of Mount Carmel? A friend from my high school singing group, who started at Mount Carmel with me, would sing with me at Mass in the convent on Sundays for the Sisters. Afterwards, we would stay and have steak dinners with them. The Sisters were so down-to-earth, and were cornerstones of every nursing unit in the hospital. They would visit every patient and sit with them, sometimes just holding their hands. My other favorite memory, and probably a memory of most of the other students, was sunbathing on the sundeck. We had to be careful of our bathing attire, because the sundeck was visible from the south part of the hospital.

How has your Mount Carmel network helped you in your life, personally or professionally or both? Nursing is a phenomenal network for graduates to stay linked together. As a Mount Carmel graduate in the workforce, you are respected and recognized locally and nationally. I felt that I had a solid foundation for performing as a competent and professional nurse. Many lasting friendships were formed during school and many of my friends live across the country. I even met my husband at Mount Carmel!

What book is currently on your nightstand (or at the top of your Kindle favorites)? I have read almost all of the books by James Patterson, and all of Patricia Cornwell. I am into mysteries, whether they are police or medical mysteries. Reading is my favorite hobby.

What advice would you like to share with other nurses as they move from student to alumni of Mount Carmel? I would advise all new graduates to continue learning. You are never too old to learn. I went back to school after 36 years and have never regretted it! I have enjoyed it so much. It is also important to remember why you went into nursing. Nursing is a profession, not just a job. You can make such a difference in others’ lives. Staying involved with classmates once you have graduated will help you continue the network that was developed through the school life. Be proud of your profession and of Mount Carmel College of Nursing – nursing truly is an art.

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