For many, being a nurse isn’t just a career – it’s a calling. Just ask Janet Wright and Dottie Wallin, who have more than 70 years of combined nursing experience. Janet is now retired and calls Waltonwood Cary Parkway (a premier senior living community) home. She graduated from Syracuse University and spent more than five decades as a nurse, retiring just four years ago at the age of 72. She worked in different avenues of nursing, including public health, nursing education and as a nurse manager at a free medical clinic. She says nursing is more than just being hands on, you must have knowledge and assessment skills. Even though Janet is retired, she still recognizes when people need help and is always willing to lend an extra hand.
“Nursing is a rewarding career. It takes a special person to hold that position because they have to see beyond themselves and care for others,” said Janet. “It was a different time when I went to school. I didn’t have many options. It was either become a nurse or an educator, and I don’t regret my decision. I appreciated being able to go down different paths of nursing throughout my career. I matured each time I tried something new and grew to believe in myself. The last position I held at the free medical clinic was life changing. I started as a volunteer and worked my way up to nurse manager. Being able to provide free care to people and educate patients about their health was a wonderful feeling. After retiring, I still find myself wanting to help others. I’m a people person, and I don’t think that will ever go away.”
While Wright is retired, Wallin is currently the assisted living Resident Care Manager nurse at Waltonwood Cary Parkway. She went to nursing school in Charlotte and started her career in 1995 at an acute care hospital. She then took a position in long term care where she began working with seniors and never looked back. Wallin has been with Waltonwood Cary Parkway for almost a year and says working with seniors is her passion. She tries to make a difference in someone’s life each day, and the residents leave a positive impact on hers.
“I’ve always been fascinated with anatomy and physiology, so pursuing a career in the medical field was something I knew I wanted to do,” said Wallin. “When I went to school, I never imagined I would spend my career helping seniors, but I am so glad I have. It is a career path I stumbled upon, but it has been the most satisfying experience for me. Most nurses are passionate about what they do and take their roles seriously. It’s a privilege to provide care and be an advocate for residents. They know they can count on me, and that warms my heart. The industry is constantly changing, but one thing I know will never change is the love and compassion nurses have for whomever they help. It’s not always an easy job, but it’s definitely a gratifying career with many opportunities.”
“Janet and Dottie are two inspiring women who have made a meaningful impact on many people’s lives during their extensive careers,” said Matthew VanAuker, executive director at Waltonwood Cary Parkway. “We thank them for putting others before themselves and giving back to those in need. Our residents receive the most innovative care here at the community, and we appreciate the contributions of all our nurses. We are also grateful to nurses who paved the way for others to succeed in the medical field. We are honored to celebrate nurses during National Nurses Week and look forward to doing so for years to come.”
National Nurses Week starts each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday.