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In the best of hands

Retired nurses at Highland Springs share decades of expertise in evolving field

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May 5th, 2017
Highland Springs residents Joanne Cafiero (standing) and Rosemary Nichols founded the retired nurses club at the North Dallas Erickson Living community.

Highland Springs residents Joanne Cafiero (standing) and Rosemary Nichols founded the retired nurses club at the North Dallas Erickson Living community.

National Nurses Week runs from May 6 through May 12 and is a time to celebrate nurses and their work.

Highland Springs, the Erickson Living community in North Dallas, Tex., is home to a vibrant group of retired nurses who meet monthly to visit and share stories from their careers. Rosemary Nichols and Joanne Cafiero, both retired nurses, founded the group in July 2016.

“It’s been fun to learn everyone’s background and to see memorabilia from their working days, including old nursing caps and capes,” says Rosemary, whose 50-plus year career includes a stint as an army nurse where she worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center [now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center].

Pioneers in the field

Some members of the group completed their nursing training in three years. Others completed a four-year college degree with a specialty in nursing.

“Nursing has changed considerably over the years,” says Sally Myers, who earned her nursing credentials from Amarillo College in 1947. “We handled more bedside care than nurses do today.” 

Sally says one of the most memorable moments in her career took place in Houston, where she was one of three nurses chosen to provide postoperative care for the first artificial heart transplant patient in the United States.

“Dr. Denton Cooley performed the surgery at St. Luke’s in Houston,” says Sally. “It was quite an honor to be chosen as a post-op nurse. As I look back over my career, I’m so thankful I chose nursing. I loved every minute of it.”

Seasoned perspective

Now, with the benefit of wisdom and experience, the retired nurses appreciate the care that’s available to them at Highland Springs, should they need it. 

“This is the retirement lifestyle I wanted,” says Rosemary. “We have everything we need, including a medical center with full-time doctors, right here on campus.”

Highland Springs also offers assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and post-acute rehabilitation in its continuing care neighborhood, which received a five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“I’ve visited our continuing care neighborhood several times,” says Sally. “I think the nurses over there do a great job. We’re fortunate to have access to such wonderful care.”

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