Janet Stevens (’84) Receives Alumni Service Award
By Hannah Werthan
When Janet Stevens was ten years old, her grandfather suffered from a stroke. Janet only remembers bits and pieces, but her mother could tell by the way she handled the situation that Janet was going to become a nurse. Sure enough, when it came time for her to explore college options, Janet chose Molloy in part because of its nursing reputation and in part because it was an institution centered in her faith as all her education had been. Janet graduated from Molloy in 1984 and became a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to adhere to the four pillars of Dominican life: Community, Service, Spirituality, and Study. She is a blessing to her patients, an inspiration to her students, and a loving mom to her three children.
Nursing as a Vocation
In addition to her career as a nurse, Janet has been an educator in academia for ten years; currently, she is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Practical Nurse Program at Suffolk Community College. Something she tells her students is that nursing is not just a job, it is a vocation. She believes that God has called her to this profession and continues to guide her through life. Initially, Janet was hired as a critical care nurse, but she knew in her heart that she wanted to be in obstetrics. Twenty years into her career, her dream came true and she became an OB nurse. She is currently the clinical educator for a high-risk Labor & Delivery unit.
Her path to obstetrics was truly meant to be. Janet has thrived in her role, helping the hospital implement important perinatal bereavement and fetal demise programs. She was part of the team that started Gabriel's Courage, which supports mothers who receive life-limiting prenatal diagnoses by providing in-utero hospice/palliative care for the imperiled newborn. They are offered care throughout their pregnancies and when they say hello and goodbye to their child. She coordinates the "Bridge to Hope" initiative for mothers and families of babies who perish at less than twenty weeks gestational age. Overall, her mission is to provide the utmost care to all of her patients, cognizant that how we minister matters. "The technological advances we have had in the healthcare industry have been tremendous and very important for improving the patient experience, but we've also had a shift in how we treat perinatal loss in the past ten years. It has been so rewarding to see the benefits of the changes we've made in their healing journey," she says.
Janet has touched the lives of so many. Last year, she cared for a mother who gave birth to twin stillborn girls on Christmas day. The mother was initially hesitant to see her daughters; however, Janet explained to her that many parents appreciate the opportunity to meet their children, even if it is just for a short period of time. Once the mother delivered her babies and was able to hold them, she was so appreciative that Janet counseled her on this decision. "God spoke to me through you," she told Janet. This year, that same woman is due around Christmas again. Janet plans to be there for the delivery. "I was there during her saddest moment, and now I want to be there for her happiest; it is both a gift and a privilege for me to witness," she says.
Serving Her Community and Beyond
Over the years, Janet has volunteered for various organizations and causes, including the extensive work she has done to expand CPR education and deploy AED's throughout Suffolk County. On March 25, 2000, fourteen-year-old Louis J. Acompora died during his first high school lacrosse game after getting hit in the chest. One week later, Janet was asked to go to their house and provide training in CPR and the use of an AED. In doing so, began a journey of helping others get the education and equipment they needed to potentially save future lives. Since then, Janet has also teamed up with the Robbie Levine Forever Nine Foundation. Through these foundations, Janet has trained hundreds of people throughout Suffolk County on CPR instruction so that they can, in turn, educate their communities, and she has helped deploy AED's for youth athletic organizations county-wide. "God puts things in my lap," Janet says of her partnership with the Acompora and Levine families, "And I am a mother, too, and give to honor them."
Janet has gone on medical mission trips to El Salvador and Ecuador through Blanca's House, an organization of volunteers who provide medical care throughout Central and South America. They have performed various surgical procedures on men, women, and children in the area. Janet, along with her daughter, was humbled by the lack of resources. "In the hospitals in America, we have unlimited supplies and many are considered to be disposable. There, much of what we had was shared and we had to become more conscious of what we were using," Janet says.
Living the Molloy Mission
For the past thirty-four years, Janet has devoted herself to serving others. She credits Molloy for instilling the desire to do more to help others in her. Janet's career has taught her to look differently at the world. She makes a conscious effort to choose joy and find the ordinary miracles in life. Janet is not sure where her life will take her, but puts her trust in God to continue to steer her in the right direction.