Nancy Hagans: Taking care of people comes naturally

Nancy Hagans emigrated from Haiti to Brooklyn when she was 10. “I was the third of 10 children and was always taking care of my younger siblings. I’ve always wanted to take care of people,” she says.

She loved her science classes at Long Island University and was a chemistry major even tutoring medical students. But, she knew she wanted to be a nurse and earned a BSN. She’s been in the profession for 26 years.

For 20 years, Hagans has been a critical care certified surgical ICU charge nurse at Maimonides Medical Center. “My job is not just to care for patients but to nurture and orient new nurses and interns and residents with their skills.”

Since 1992, she has been on the Executive Committee for New York State Nurses Association where she helps write the contract for the 13,000-member association. “We don’t just write, we represent nurses if there’s a dispute and advocate for our profession,” says Hagans. She has also been the NYSNA chairperson at Maimonides Medical Center since 1989.

Nancy reinforces the point how she always wanted to take care of people. “It was a natural for me. I especially wanted to care for those who couldn’t take care of themselves.”

On her first day of work, her first head nurse Joan Phillips had the greatest influence on her. “She emphasized that even when you’re not the primary nurse, you’re in the hospital to respond. Since then, my motto is: Every patient in the hospital is my patient.”

Ms. Hagans appreciates and thanks the patience, love, support and understanding from her family, her husband and two daughters during this current nurses’ contract negotiations, which is dominating all her time.

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