What is your favorite Erie memory?
One of the things that I find most fulfilling is that, in some cases, I feel like I'm taking care of my grandchildren because I have patients who were babies when they first came to Erie that are now adults with their own children.
One day, I went into the AT&T store because my email wasn't working on my phone. A woman walked up to me and said, “Hi Michele, how can I help you? I know you don't remember me because I look different, but 17 years ago, I was a pregnant teenager, and I didn't know what to do. I came into your clinic, and you helped take care of me, and you helped me stay in school. Now my kid is 16 years old, and he’s a sophomore in high school.” I thought that was nice.
What surprised you most about working at Erie?
The resourcefulness and resilience of our patients every day amazes me. Also, every time you think you've seen every situation, something happens that you’ve never seen before. Every day is different.
Is there a patient story that has inspired you in the 32 years you've been at Erie?
At any moment, you might be saying something that makes a difference in someone's life. You might be the reason why someone decides that they shouldn't attempt suicide, or why someone decides not to drop out of school and to apply for college. We have a patient who is now a master's level social worker. She told us that we are the reason she's the first person in her family to go to college.
What inspired you to go into Community Heath?
When I first got out of nursing school, I worked in a hospital. That was pretty much what everyone did because there were fewer options 40 years ago. I then did home health for a short time. After some time in home health, I saw this job and thought it was perfect. You can do so much more for patients in a Community Health setting because we're more focused on health as a whole rather than just illnesses.
When I'm not working, I enjoy…
Reading, being with my friends, going to the brewpub, and brewing beer. I like to go to the local breweries. There's one less than a mile from my house where I hang out. Wednesdays are when I go after work to eat and hang out with the guys I call my beer brothers.
What advice would you give a new Erie employee?
Give yourself time and listen and learn from all the people around you. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Don't expect to know everything. I’ve been here for 32 years, and I still have to ask questions.
What does Women's History Month mean to you, and how do you plan to observe it?
Women’s history month is when we can learn to appreciate the contributions that women have made. Many contributions by women in history have either been credited to someone else or overlooked. This month is the time for women to shine. I want to learn more about someone who made great contributions and was underappreciated and undervalued.