Nursing student maintains family's 'tradition'

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  • By 020308
By Steve Pivnick
81st Medical Group Public Affairs

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. - Patricia Landry's desire to become a nurse is understandable. Both her mother and father practice the noble profession. 

Patricia, a senior at the University of South Alabama School of Nursing, recently began a 200-hour rotation at Keesler Medical Center to hone her skills. She is among nursing students from three area schools Keesler Medical Center has partnered with to offer their students the opportunity to train with Air Force nurses. The other schools are Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Her mother Lidia is a member of the 81st Medical Operations Squadron Family Practice Flight while her father Paul is a nurse at the Biloxi Veterans Affairs Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System facility. 

"The training at Keesler Medical Center will help me transition from school to hands-on nursing," Patricia said. "It incorporates classroom theory with what it's actually like being a nurse." 

Her 200 hours are divided among 12-hour shifts at the medical center under the guidance of preceptor (an expert or a specialist who gives practical experience and training to a student, especially of medicine or nursing) Capt. Lavon Williams, a nurse in the 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron Inpatient Surgical Flight. She is "shadowing" Maj. Jeannie Sabatine, the flight's nurse manager. 

In addition to her parents' careers, Patricia said her desire to help others drew her to nursing. 

"It's rewarding to care for people, seeing them doing well and enjoying the services you provide," she explained. 

Still undecided about a specific area of nursing she would like to concentrate on, Patricia believes labor and delivery would be a challenge. "There is a lot of work and responsibility in L&D," she said. 

A graduate of Mercy Cross High School, the future nurse attended MGCCC for two years before transferring to USA. Patricia, who graduates in May, wanted to work at Keesler Medical Center but learned she needed at least three years experience to do so. She hopes to become a member of the Ocean Springs Hospital staff. 

Mother Lidia has been a nurse since 1990 and has been with Keesler Medical Center 14 years. Prior to moving to family practice in 2005, she worked in the medical-surgical inpatient unit for more than eight years and obstetrics and labor and delivery for more than two years. 

Paul retired from the Air Force as a senior master sergeant in 1999, immediately entering the nursing field. He had worked towards a nursing degree while still on active duty and subsequently earned his master's degree.