Nurses Trained at Blue Hills Regional Honored by Boston Globe
Braintree and Norwood nurses, both trained at Blue Hills Regional, were honored recently for their work.
Sharon Valle and Judy Dynan epitomize the very best of what modern nursing is all about.
Both women are compassionate, highly-trained, dedicated, understanding, wise and totally focused on going “above and beyond” for patients and their families.
Valle, of Braintree, and Dynan, of Norwood, recently expressed their immense gratitude for being among the nurses honored in the Boston Globe’s 2012 “Salute to Nurses,” a special section published annually which celebrates dozens of outstanding men and women in nursing across Massachusetts who are nominated by those who know them, especially people whose lives they have memorably impacted.
Valle, a nurse at Ellis Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Norwood, and Dynan, an oncology nurse at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, share another characteristic – both were trained in the Practical Nursing Program (Postsecondary Programs Division) at Blue Hills Regional Technical School in Canton, Valle graduating in 2004 (she went to high school at Blue Hills Regional as well, studying Health Services and graduating in 1983), Dynan in 1991.
Valle is the Chairperson of the Practical Nursing program’s Advisory Board, which keeps the faculty informed of current trends in the profession and ensures the timeliness of the curriculum. She continues to work with Blue Hills’ nursing faculty and students during their rotation at Ellis. She and Dynan have only the most laudatory comments about the nursing education they received at Blue Hills, which, both women affirm, was the valuable cornerstone of their successful careers in healthcare.
“I always wanted to be a nurse,” said Dynan. “I saw an ad for the Blue Hills nursing program in the newspaper. [Enrolling in it] is the best thing I ever did. I credit Blue Hills for all my success. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. It’s where I got all my wonderful basic knowledge, plus hands-on caring for patients. I love that program, and I would do anything for it.”
In fact, Dynan has been a keynote speaker at the Practical Nursing program graduation, and she comes back to Blue Hills twice annually to give lectures to the nursing students on two topics she knows well – cancer, and death and dying.
After Blue Hills, Dynan went on to become a registered nurse by enrolling at Massasoit Community College, then earned her bachelor’s degree at Curry College in Milton, and eventually her master’s at Curry.
She worked at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston for five years, and has been at Dana Farber for nearly ten. Dynan, who works with ovarian, lung, and head and neck cancer patients, said, “We’re taking care of the whole
being and whole family. We try to make it as easy as possible.”
For Dynan, the biggest challenge is trying to help each patient get through his or her ordeal. As she put it, “It’s almost like being a cheerleader.” She mentioned that Dana Farber is “a great place to work” and that services of various types are available to patients, including social services, pastoral care, nutrition advice, and financial counseling.
“We give the patients all the support in the world,” Dynan pointed out, and even after their treatment ends, she said, “they are followed so closely.”
“I love my patients,” she said proudly. “Working with them is fabulous.”
Sharon Valle echoed Judy Dynan’s sentiment about always wanting to be a nurse. When Valle graduated from the Blue Hills program, she said, the economy was in a slump and nursing jobs were hard to find. Then, when her mother became seriously ill years later and had a hospice nurse who was “so kind and caring,” the experience re-ignited Valle’s desire to enter the profession.
“That hospice nurse had no idea what an impact she had on us,” Valle recalled. ”If I can help another person and their family like she helped us, that’s what I wanted to do, so I did.”
Valle, who has worked at Ellis for eight years, said, “It’s not the type of job you take to collect a paycheck. You’re there because you care about people. You have patients for so long that you bond with them and their families. The biggest reward is in knowing that I helped someone through a really difficult time to make their transition to long-term care.”
Valle said that family members are often beset with feelings of guilt when they decide to place a loved one in a nursing home and that person loses their independence. “I watch families struggle every day with that decision,” she observed.
She often develops strong emotional bonds with her patients. “I really like geriatrics and working with the elderly,” Valle said. “They have so much to offer. It’s amazing what they’ve been through and what they’ve seen.”
Evidently, her sons - a junior in college and a junior in high school - felt that same affinity for the patients at Ellis. Both of them volunteered there during the summers; one even wrote his college essay about his experiences there.
"The patients become part of your family,” Valle said. “There’s a little bit of every one that I think about all the time.”
–Judy Bass, Blue Hills Regional