HONESDALE - Following in the footsteps of her mother and two aunts, 41 years ago this July, will mark Ramona Schwartz’s beginning as a registered nurse. Looking at her family’s experience in the field, Schwartz says nursing seemed like a good career because it appeared to be a secure and honorable trade. Today, she says it is, as she loves her job and the people she works with.
    Schwartz credits her mother Audrey for her decision to become an RN, because she believes her mother would have liked to have been an RN, but it might have been too costly. Her mother was an LPN and both of Schwartz’s aunts were RNs.  
    Great changes have occurred through the years Schwartz says. Changes like tracking patient’s information with computers, rather than charts at the end of one’s bed. Or, instead of manually cranking a patient’s bed, now it’s automated. Adapting to the technological changes, Schwartz says has not always been easy. But it’s been for the better, like electronic medical records which she calls “wonderful.” With the information readily available, she says not having to look for charts has been great. There was a point when every patient was on continuous running IV’s, but today there are heparin locks which can disconnect a patient from the IV. The equipment, she notes is “much better.” There is also a security that comes with the technology, because scanning a patient’s bar codes to match their medications is a safer method. Because the “human body doesn’t change really,” Schwartz says the biggest difference today is the technology.
    Schwartz has spent her entire career helping the patients of Wayne Memorial Hospital, where she was actually born. With a laugh, she says it feels like it’s been 41 years, as the changes continue and coworkers have come and gone. With coworkers that are quite a bit younger, Schwartz says she loves her colleagues because together they are a great team and they are her, “inspiration.” Plus, her younger colleagues “keep me on my toes.”
    Choosing to work on the telemetry unit for years now, Schwartz says she likes the variety that comes with the floor and helping patients with varying conditions. She calls the floor both “very interesting and very challenging.”  
    Loving the people she works with and serving “fantastic patients,” Schwartz says are her two favorite parts of her job. From helping people with heart issues to others who may have broken a bone, Schwartz says she loves the task of learning and taking care of all the different people and having to address each patient’s needs.
    The hardest part though, is losing a patient and feeling like she cannot do enough for all of her patients. She explains that although she might be helping a patient in one room, another patient may need her help and that can be “frustrating.”
    Considering what she knows about the field today, Schwartz says she would have gone for a bachelor or master degree because the additional knowledge is important as there is “so much happening and increased responsibilities,” that she highly recommends nurses go for more than an associate degree.  
    As the realm of careers has increased for women, Schwartz says if she wasn’t a nurse, she probably would have become a biology teacher, because she has always been interested in science. Ultimately though, Schwartz feels she has been a teacher as she has to teach patients and other nurses.
    Married with three sons and a resident of Hawley, Schwartz says being an RN is great because it’s a, “wonderful thing if you can rise to that level and take care of the patient.”
    For the future nurses of the world, Schwartz’s says, “get your education; get as much of an education as you can and treat your patient the way you want to be treated.” By treating patients the way you want to be treated, she adds a person will be a good nurse.
    Being called a nurse, Schwartz says is “honorable.” Caring for people and staying informed about all that a nurse must know, she acknowledges is a “big responsibility.” But even still, proud of her work, Schwartz laughs that she is “tired.”
    Although she has no immediate plans on retiring, Schwartz says it has been an enjoyable and rewarding career with times that were challenging and humbling experiences. “You think you know, but sometimes a patient will humble you down, keep you balanced, it’s got its up and downs like anything.” Nursing she adds is a, “very good profession; I'd recommend it.”