‘I Always Wanted to Help People’
When Jane Marozzi says she’s been looking forward to earning a bachelor of science in nursing degree for a long time, she means it.
Because in her case, the BSN isn’t just the culmination of four years of college, but a highlight of a career that has spanned almost four decades.
Still, like other, more traditional graduates of area programs, her interest in a nursing career started early.
“I have a picture of me with a stethoscope at Christmas time when I was little,” Marozzi recalled. “I felt a natural draw to the field.”
So, after high school, she enrolled in a three-year diploma program at St. Francis Hospital School of Nursing in Hartford, Conn. and started her nursing career at its affiliate hospital, now operated by Trinity Health Of New England, in 1985.
Thirty-eight years later, she is celebrating earning her BSN at Bay Path University.
“I always wanted to help people,” she said of her long career, spent exclusively at St. Francis, first on the cardiac floor and then in maternity.
“Throughout that time, I got married and had children,” she said, but throughout her career, “I always wanted to get my BSN. After my parents had passed in 2018, I said, ‘I’m going to do it.’ Bay Path gave me such great flexibility, to be able to do it online five days a week. It was a lot, but it was doable.”
While nothing could replace a lifetime of caring for patients, “the nursing program taught me so much about wellness, diversity, nursing research, and community health, which was huge because I did not get that in my diploma program. I became a better writer. My leadership skills grew.”
Marozzi graduated in December 2022, and on Jan. 1, BSN in hand, she was offered the nurse manager position in the maternity unit at St. Francis.
With a few months in that role under her belt, and just a few months short of her 60th birthday, she’s glad she made the effort to earn that degree.
“I said to my husband, ‘why am I doing this? I’m 59.’ And he said, ‘you wanted this. Keep going.’ So there were professional reasons, but a lot of personal ones too.”
“I felt like the BSN nurse was looked at a little differently. It became my personal goal to strive for this, and as I got close to the end, I saw I had an opportunity to become a nurse manager,” she said. “I said to my husband, ‘why am I doing this? I’m 59.’ And he said, ‘you wanted this. Keep going.’ So there were professional reasons, but a lot of personal ones too.”
In both the cardiac unit early in her career and the maternity unit later on, she had opportunities to learn and grow into leadership roles; her last position before becoming nurse manager was senior clinical advisor, which was a mix of bedside and office duties.
As for that bedside role, she said it has changed a great deal over the years.
“The amount of computer charting, I think, has removed the nurse from the bedside. When I was first a bedside nurse, we gave backrubs — there was so much care we did. Now that kind of care is either missing or is in a nursing assistant role. There’s so much documentation now.”
She is intrigued by a ‘virtual nurse’ technology being introduced by Trinity Health at St. Francis later this summer, through which patients can be observed via a TV screen by a remote nurse, who can respond to needs right away and summon the right personnel into the room.
“I still jump out there if the staff needs me, to keep up on my bedside skills. I don’t want to forget what it’s like to be at the bedside.”
“I find that fascinating,” Marozzi said, but responding to patients’ needs has always been the heart of the nursing life for her. “I still jump out there if the staff needs me, to keep up on my bedside skills. I don’t want to forget what it’s like to be at the bedside.”
And her hospital, like so many others, needs nurses at the bedside.
“We’re getting graduate nurses, and we have a great training program here,” she added. “We try to bring them in early in their careers — student nurses, interns … we get them in, get them some skills, and maybe they will be interested in becoming a nurse.”
With nurse shortages a national concern, Marozzi is intrigued by the fact that hospitals are even bringing in LPNs for roles that previously required an RN.
“They don’t have the amount of nursing candidates that they need; it’s quite a different world right now. They’re looking for nurses,” she said. “Hospitals, we were told 10 years ago, didn’t take anyone unless they had the BSN. My whole capstone project was on how LPNs and team nursing are coming back. You need a team to get it done. And the LPNs have been just fabulous, giving medications, doing treatments, taking the pressure off registered nurses.”
Clearly, career possibilities abound in nursing — no matter one’s age.
“It’s definitely a great time to be a nurse,” Marozzi said. “There are so many opportunities for growth, and hospitals need so many nurses.”