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5 decades of nurses share connection at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital

Despite the decades in age difference, each nurse carries a common bond and each has something to teach.

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio — Toni Zito, MSN, RN, CPAN, FASPAN, born in 1959, has been a nurse for 40 years.

“No sense of calling it quits, I still feel like I contribute to the profession. I still love what I do every day,” Toni said.

Gianna Kosley, born in 1999, just graduated from nursing school and even teaches the older nurses a thing or two.

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“They've helped a lot during nursing school, if I have a question, I can go to any of them, they'll answer and it's cool because sometimes I feel like I teach them because they’ve  changed wording on things,” Gianna said.  

Five nurses, born 10 years apart, all work at Cleveland Clinic Hillcrest Hospital’s peri-operative unit taking care of patients before, during and after surgery. The team sees about 60 patients a day. The range of ages is a benefit.

“Our patients are different ages also. So I think we can relate to everybody because we work right next to the younger folks and the older folks,” said Colleen Dagg Ressler, BSN, RN, CPAN, born in 1969.

"I'm in the middle and I appreciate the people that are above me because I use them to go to, to say, 'Hey, what is this? Have you seen something like this before? Do you have experience in this?' And then I use someone that's a little bit younger than me to come and say, 'help me, you're really good at the computer,'” said Angela Sotka, BSN, RN, CPAN, born in 1979.

Annie Stibich, BSN, RN-BC was born in 1989.

“Ahead of me, they just have so much experience and wisdom when it comes to nursing and below me, I think, like everyone says, there's so much to learn from them,” she said.  

Despite the decades in age difference, each nurse carries a common bond. The calling for compassion and care. And each has something to teach. 

Even Toni learned from younger nurses.

“They taught us to ask for what we wanted. We weren't always empowered to speak up or taught to speak up, and they told me to ask for what we wanted. I never thought to do that, and they taught me the worst thing they could say was no,” Toni said.

What's the most important lesson she hopes they learned from her?

“I hope I taught them to treat the patient like their family and on our worst day, we're not laying on a cart or a bed here. And, it's a privilege to take care of these people,” she said.

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