Jessie Reardon, BSN, RN, wanted to be a special education teacher for years.
But when someone close to her was diagnosed with brain tumors, Reardon spent a lot of time keeping them company at the former Women and Children’s Hospital.
“I didn’t know how much nurses did before that. I wasn’t aware of much in the healthcare field,” she says. “I really admired the work they did and how they cared for their patients, not just in a medical way but in an emotional way. Your nurse is the one you spend your time with in the hospital.”
It was that experience that inspired Reardon to become a nurse. For almost two years now, she’s been working on 7 East at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center as a post-op surgical nurse, a job that’s become more than just a passion.
“Being a nurse, we deal with patients at the worst times of their lives,” she says. “If I can bring a positive attitude, even when things get tough, to my patients and my coworkers, that can go a long way to help with healing and getting stronger and better.”
It's that positive attitude and dedication to patients that makes Reardon our Nurse of the Month for September.
“Jessie has been with us since February 2020 and quickly became a patient and team favorite,” according to her award nomination form. “She is compassionate, motivated and dependable to name a few of her most notable qualities. Jessie comes to work with a positive attitude that is very contagious. She is a strong patient advocate, always keeping the best interest of the patient in mind and focuses on providing exceptional care to all patients. Jessie will go above and beyond, not only for the patients, but for their families as well.”
Reardon joined Roswell Park just before the pandemic hit, a time when patients going through treatment weren’t allowed to have visitors or see their families in person. “It was just us and the patients,” she says. “That was a lot, but I was drawn to Roswell because of our patient population. I wanted to come here because you hear so many great things about Roswell and I really wanted to be at the patients’ bedside.”
She enjoys the chance to work closely with her patients and get to know them, even if sometimes they share difficult news with her. Some patients confide their fears in her because the conversations are too difficult to have with others.
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“Patients need nurses who are compassionate and caring and on some days it’s tough,” Reardon says. “But I’m surrounded by good people. My coworkers are amazing. I wouldn’t ask for a different team. The help and support we give each other goes a long way.”
When she’s not helping post-surgical patients being treated for head and neck, breast, neurological or thoracic cancers, Reardon likes to keep busy: She’s an amateur boxer who also plays volleyball and takes care of her dog and two cats at home. She also contributes to the Buffalo Community Fridge, on East Ferry and Jefferson streets. “Part of our mission is to build stronger community bonds, eliminate food waste and address food insecurity. People throw out good food all day every day and people are very hungry. If we can get food into people’s tummies instead of the garbage, that’s the best.”
Her community service efforts are just another reason why Reardon was selected as our Nurse of the Month.
“I was so, so shocked when I got this award,” she says. “I love what I do. I don’t know if a lot of people can say that. I feel very fortunate to be in the position I am.”