Nursing Legacy: Every Nurse Has a Story

Wisdom Should be Shared and Lived


Nurses are everyday leaders. We are great leaders and as such, we are constantly in search for something we can leave to our profession and colleagues. Our experiences with life's battle between health and death have taught us great lessons. We are creators and innovators. We have worked so hard to perfect the art and science of nursing and that is our legacy to our profession and the future. Whatever we do, we think of it as our living legacy not only to nursing but to the whole of humanity.  

Mireille Roti, RN:

A personal touch

She is an only child and her father wanted her to become a secretary. And yet, Ms.Roti is decided to become a nurse after seeing her mother ill from an early age. She became an LPN from Clara Barton HS in 1971 and finally became an RN in 1982. Her diploma degree did not limit her from a critical care practice in the ICU’s as she has enriched herself with a wide-range of experiences in urology, surgical and medical specialties. She has surrounded herself with doctors and good nurses, keeping up with magazines and conferences for updates.  She has precepted numerous nursing students as well as young doctors in her 39 years of service.

Her legacy is knowing that students who have worked with her have gone on to do great things in nursing partly from her influence on them and have maintained friendship long after the workplace.

To her patients, she is an advocate. She talks to them in such a way to leave some kind of imprint of goodness and caring. For her, nursing is being in the bedside, talking and caring for each one of her patients in a personalized nursing care just for them.




Claudette Morissey, RN:

WHEN means Always

For longevity of service, we have no doubt for Claudette, having served for fifty years. She has a rich and beautiful transformation into a Modern Nightingale from her graduation with a diploma degree from Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing in 1959.

As John, her husband, gives his tribute when Claudette retired last year, he has described how she maintained her own lifestyle, from working in the hospital and taking care of their 4 children.  The sacrifice was there, but she has survived the stress and maintained a well-balanced life and a well balanced meal for her family.

Her courage was tested when she became a NOVA president for three years and has been in charge of thirty-six thousand members. She has stood before Congress to discuss issues related to healthcare. She was chosen because she was a staff nurse and that her input is as direct as possible to the bottom-line of the matter.

She has been an OR nurse and has specialized on the care of surgical patients. She loved her profession very much that could have explained her survival and good memories of nursing.

As a supervisor for WHEN hours (Week-ends, Holidays and Nights) in the VA of Brooklyn, she has led her nurses gently, protectively like a mother. She has a personal way of establishing rapport and maintaining a jolly approach by carrying and wearing it on herself. She wears coordinated uniforms and accessories for every occasion and holidays, from pins to nails and all. She has a rich collection of everything nursing, and the one she loves most are the different statues and carvings of nurses that remind her of all the cultures she has met in those years in nursing. She has been there all the time for her nurses, talking and listening to them, making her WHEN hours like always. 


Miraflor Arcenigas, RN:

The survival of a nurse

She came to the US from the Philippines as a nurse and that was a culture shock. Then she has to work in a complex clinical setting, and that is the test of professional survival as a nurse.

She was naïve and submissive, and they mistook it for being nice and taken advantage of. She has to learn a lot of things herself for her clinical competency or she cannot survive in a setting of complex machines like Dialysis. That was then, and now thirty some years later, she is a picture of kindness, caring, and expertise. She has survived the challenges of a foreign educated nurse in a sophisticated healthcare system. She is no longer lost in the jungle of wires in a Dialysis machine as she promised to herself that she will become an instrument to help new nurses find their way out of the woods and make survival easier.


Teresita Dunuan, RN:

Taking care of nurses

 She has practiced nursing since 1976, graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. She has specialized in surgical, intensive and cardiac care for pediatrics; taking care of children who cannot communicate, whose needs are complicated and can only be anticipated by a keen, caring and skillful nurse.


She is young and beautiful, a single mom and a proud mother of a veteran. She is a cancer survivor, too and has picked up her life from the pain, fears and devastating effects of the disease. She took this courage into the next level and became the “nurses’ nurse as she take care of nurses afflicted by cancer. The good, positive outlook she has on life, has given her the courage to give back by “being there” for sick nurses and their families.


She adheres to this quote: “Live inspired and aspire to inspire.” One of her greatest stories of inspiration is being able to bring life and inspiration to a widower of a nurse who succumbed to breast cancer, who said, “if not for her, I could have not come back to the “world” after the death of my wife.”

Deborah and Ayal B. Lindeman

 Ayal B. Lindeman, LPN :

“No matter what the condition or situation: “Something Can Be Done About It”                                                       

 Ayal receives this special “Unsung Heroes Awards”, not because he served for 30 years, but just barely a year after graduating as an LPN from Rockland County BOCES. It was not the longevity in the profession but rather the quality of service and heroism he has shown for 20 years as an EMT then as a newly graduate nurse.

Emergency Care is his specialty and has worked as a Volunteer Minister with the Churches of Scientology Disaster Response as an EMT forward triage with the volunteer field hospital and then logistics and supplies during the 911 recovery; Hurricanes Charley, Frances Ivan and Jean (Florida ‘04, )Katrina, Rita and Wilma in Mississippi and Louisianan ‘05.

As a nurse, he has volunteered to work at the General Hospital Port au Prince in Haiti and University of Miami Medishare Hospital Port au Prince Airport last Jan, Feb, and March, 2010, following the earthquake that devastated Haiti.

 He arranged the transport of three Haitian nationals to the United States for the care needed so that they might survive and has continued to assist with groups working to coordinate and help to establish a clinic in Cabaret Haiti.

He has a ready hand in times of calamities for he believes that “No matter what the condition or situation: “Something Can Be Done About It”                                                       

Potri Ranka Manis, MA, RN:

A nurse in search of the role of ancestral arts and culture in healing


A nurse artist conceives, choreographs and directs Pandibulan (bathing by moonlight), a cultural presentation featuring dances, music, and folktales from the Yakan people of Southern Philippines. This is scene 1.


Potri Ranka Manis is a literary genius, artist, and foremost a nurse who have served for over 30 years, a portrait of a knight and hero, a Modern Nightingale. She has recently obtained a Masters degree in nursing. She continually explores through qualitative searches on the role of ancestral arts and culture in the science and art of healing.


She is a Board Certified Medical- Surgical Registered Nurse, member of Philippines Nurses   Association of New York, Board of Director of Kalusugan Coalition, and Board of Director of New York City Community Health Network.

With a multi-talent and a kind-hearted, yet a brave woman activist like Potri, she is always around and involved. She has both feet between two jobs. While as a director of this theatrical magic of a world-class performance, she too, has to wear the scrubs and work her way to the hospital and live her second life, if not her first: taking care of the critically ill in the ICU. This is scene 2.

Clemencia Wong, MEd, RN:

Advanced practice to teach nurses

With a rich clinical background since she graduated with Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of the Philippines in 1965, she continued her education in the US and has attended Teachers College, Columbia University for her Masters in 1972. Clem has advanced her education and practice to teach nurses in the clinical setting and have exactly done that as a Clinical Faculty at Montefiore Medical Center since 2001. Her clinical expertise includes pediatrics, medical-surgical and maternal and child Health.

Her student activism changed her life and became more socially involved in reforms championing the rights of nurses as a grievance representative of the NY State Nurses Association (NYSNA), both Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike, in Mount Sinai Hospital and of the Filipino nurses in NY. As the Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee, PNA-NY, she led the fight for justice for the Sentosa nurses.

She has officially retired; however, she will continue to give back, in one way or another, to the nursing community which she has embraced with dedication as her second family.


Niyom Kanjanintorn

Niyom Kanjanintorn, RN:         

Nursing was a Language

She graduated with a diploma program from Bangkok Thailand. With a nursing language of caring from her rich experiences in midwifery and public health and a little knowledge of the English language, she migrated to the US in 1972 and worked as a nurse’s aide. She overcame the language barrier as she became an LPN and moved into the nursing ladder; a private duty nurse one on one, until she moved to the hospital setting and got more aggressive and brave to take care of Open Heart patients at Downstate ICU. She became well trained on dialysis machines and has remained to be a dialysis nurse for twenty-six years. Her services and courage  

to learn and operate complex machines in critical settings and compromised patients despite a language barrier has proven that nursing is an educated response and a sense of caring in one; that nursing is, indeed, a universal language.

Natividad Ronquillo, Abalos, RN: A Special Mom, A Special Nurse

By Marilyn Abalos

“My ambition was to be a nurse and serve God, my country and my people.  My motto is that ‘Sincerity and Humility are the virtues in woman and Love is the harmony of the world.’”

These are the words that have guided my mother, Natividad Ronquillo Abalos, as a woman, a wife and mother – and a nurse.  I found this passage a frayed two by three inch hard-bound journal which she had written more than 70 years ago in Oton, Iloilo, Philippines. 

She received her nursing degree from School of Nursing, Iloilo Mission Hospital in 1935.  It was her nursing career that took her across the Philippine Sea to the US Territory of Guam as part of the US Military effort to rebuild the island following the devastation of World War II. 

Mom is a lover of arts and culture. She created a bridge which connected us to our Filipino heritage. She passed along her hard working ethic by example of her life time service in nursing.  Education was her legacy to the family. 

She continued her niche as a delivery nurse most of her career.  Mom has established a special bond with the mothers of a generation of babies born on Guam to local and military families.  Mom worked as a nursing teacher in Misamis, Mindanao while separated from her family during WWII.  Decades later, she served as a public health nurse and clinical nurse supervisor in Palau and Yap of the Federated States of Micronesia.  She would take boat rides, ride horses or motor scooters to reach the mothers, women in the community and tribal matriarchs to promote preventive medicine and training.  Her legacy remains in the islands.

Naomi White, RN: Growing up to be a nurse

She started as a “candy striper” at age sixteen and learned the art of caring through genuine hands on with patients. She works so hard that I cannot get her to sit for an interview. When I finally got her, she is already relaxed, gentle and happy as she remembers those striper days; how she cried when she gave her first enema! She was young and did things only she knew as a child, can give happiness. She remembers when she gave a dementia patient a “teddy bear” and another time, gave a lighted Christmas tree to a veteran. You can feel how genuinely happy Naomi was to remember her teenage years honing her skills to be a nurse. She was a nurse’s aide for 15 years until she joined the Medics in the Army. She became an LPN and moved her way up to become an RN.

She is currently a medical-surgical nurse working through these years, taking care of 6-8 patients a day, 5 times a week.  Fatigue and stress is evident and yet, she tries to be the nurse that patients need. She maintains her compassion to her patients while balancing with the demands of the healthcare system. Today, we sing a song for her.


Valarie H. Crosdale, RN: Advocating Nursing

After her length of service as a nurse (forty-seven and counting) Ms. Crosdale knows that it is time for succession planning. She has been working as an advocate of nursing by encouraging the youth of inner city high school to enter not only nursing but a career in healthcare. She has taken a giant step from her clinical setting to reach out to these children from various backgrounds and different value systems.

With her expertise on medical-surgical nursing, education and management, she founded a health guild in her congregation to educate members on various aspects of healthcare and healthy living. She is an educator and her legacy will remain with her teachings. She advocates for life-long learning, utilizing research methods that will continue to improve practice among nurses.

Attitudes and Gratitudes

Excerpted from Attitudes of Gratitude: Guided Journal

Stretch Your Mind

Gratitude is not just the key. It’s a magic key—all you need to do is use it, and the world is suddenly transformed into a beautiful wonderland in which you are invited to play. That’s because, like most of the great spiritual truths, gratitude is stunningly simple. This is not to say that an attitude of gratitude is necessarily easy to practice. All kinds of distractions and negative attitudes, many of them learned early in our lives, may get in the way. But all you really have to do is make a commitment to do it, and the magic will be yours.

Gladden Your Heart

One of the incredible truths about gratitude is that it is impossible to feel both the positive emotion of thankfulness and a negative emotion such as anger or fear at the same time. Gratitude births only positive feelings—love, compassion, joy, and hope. As we focus on what we are thankful for, negative feelings simply melt away.

Nourish Your Soul

If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money, you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.

~Lao Tzu

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