For one day, judges, elected officials and other community stalwarts dropped their pens, gavels and microphones, and grabbed the gloves, scrubs, stethoscopes and clipboards.
In its biannual Nurse-for-a-Day event, Maimonides Medical Center, 4802 10th Avenue, invited such notables to spend an afternoon shadowing medical professionals in various regions of the hospital as part of its celebration of National Nurses Week. Among them were former New York State Supreme Court Justice Patricia DiMango, who currently stars as one of three occupants of the bench on the television show “Hot Bench;” Colonel Joseph Davidson, commander of Fort Hamilton; Assistant Chief Steven Powers, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South; Isabel DiMola, superintendent of School District 21; and Carlo Scissura, the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
“In the robe that I wear on the bench, it’s a double-edged sword sometimes, because someone is always a little bit unhappy in the end. This is just a very unique experience for me,” said DiMango, who shadowed nurses and hospital administration in Maimonides’s maternity ward and pediatric center.
“In [the maternity ward], where there are are infants, there is just happiness and beauty and life,” said DiMango. “People work hard, especially people who work in the medical field, in nursing. And nobody acknowledges it for the most part.”
DiMango later took time to meet with families and patients admitted into the hospital’s pediatric ward.
“It’s more difficult here because there are kids who are hurting, and they know it, and they don’t really understand it. Their friends are doing something else, and they’re at a point where everything should just be wonderful — it’s sad,” said DiMango. “It must be more difficult on the nursing staff and the doctors, because they really just want to bring these kids back to life. I’ve had cases that were very sad, homicides and all, cases with children. Even in my job before, on the bench, cases with children are the most difficult to deal with, because they’re innocent. They don’t deserve to have anything bad happen to them.”
DiMango later said that the experience could serve to help equip public officials to continue facilitating assistance for the hospital.
“I think they recognize how important it is when people are asking for different types of funding or for certain types of changes. They have a way of seeing how important it is and how essential it might be to help them in those ways, and to be there for them. I think it’s important in any political area that they get into where the people are working who are not acknowledged on a daily basis.”
As part of the event, the hospital held a luncheon for hospital workers and event guests, which included speeches from both civic and hospital leaders.
“The patient requires to be treated as a whole human being, and no health care institution is better than its nurses,” said Maimonides President and CEO Kenneth Gibbs. “From my end, as an institution, if we want to live up to who we are, then it needs to be Nurse’s Week, every week.”
“It’s a critical event,” said Scissura. “This hospital is really a big part of the community. Many of us, myself included, have had family members here. It’s a good opportunity to showcase what’s going on. I talk all day and have meetings, and I just watched someone having a triple-bypass. It’s very different from what I am used to.
“I really think we should all bring back a positive experience with this hospital — the cleanliness, the professionalism of the nurses and the doctors and the staff. The interaction that I watched between patients and staffers, it’s been amazing,” said Scissura.