Lorrie Klemons was exposed to nursing at the young age of 4 when her 32-year-old mother became a victim of the polio epidemic in the early 1950s. Lorrie remembers the ladies in white who made her mother feel so good and gave her reason to smile, and so, at the age of 15, Lorrie spent the summer as a candy striper volunteer at her local hospital. That experience solidified Lorrie’s destiny to become a nurse.
During Lorrie’s four years at the Hunter College-Bellevue School of Nursing, many of the patients she cared for were indigent. Few spoke English. Few had family or friends who cared. Lorrie quickly realized that these patients did not have a voice and no one to speak for them. They frequently did not get the care they needed or deserved.
Lorrie felt the need to make it better and make a difference. She decided to go to graduate school and to become a nurse educator to educate nurses who cared, who advocated for their patients, and who practiced their chosen occupation with integrity, caring and professionalism. Earning a Master’s Degree in Nursing has opened many doors for Lorrie. She has had a wonderful career in the nursing/education arena, touching many lives.
Lorrie spent the first 39 years of her career obsessed with making sure that patients received the great nursing care that they deserved. Now she embarks on a new journey—the journey to help patients find their voices and achieve the best healthcare outcomes possible by partnering with their healthcare team in a positive way.
In March 2016, all of Lorrie's professional experience and best mothering strategies were called into action when her 32-year-old son was diagnosed with two concurrent life-threatening conditions at the same time. She spent 47 days and nights at her son's hospital bedside and a total of nine months with him around the clock. While she's happy to report that her son's story has a very happy ending, this experience has impassioned her even more in the work she does, assuring that every patient's voice is heard. To read Lorrie's step-by-step guide to being an empowered patient or care partner, click the following link: Ready...Set...Advocate!