Nursing Alumnae Connect at One NYC Hospital

    Three alumnae nurses work together at NYU Langone. From left: Liz Waldron Capobianco '01, Lauren Garel '17 and Mary Rose Ho '10.
    May 19, 2020
    "The nursing world is strong and loyal."

    While most are keeping their distance during the pandemic, three Scranton alumnae remain in close proximity to one another in New York City. 

    Mary Rose Ho '10 and Liz Waldron Capobianco '01 are nurse educators at NYU Langone, responsible for the education of nurses entering the health system as well as the ongoing education needs of all the nurses at NYU. As the first stop for new nurses, the two often meet Scranton alumni as they begin their new jobs.

    "It is a special connection, and I think it is comforting for us, as well as the nurses new to NYU," said Capobianco.

    In April, they welcomed one recent alumna to NYU: Lauren Garel ‘17. Once Ho found out she was a Scranton graduate, she shared the news with Capobianco, and they quickly connected with her.

    "She started her first nursing job at the height of the pandemic here in New York, which has been a most difficult and frightening time," said Capobianco. "As we would expect from a fellow Royal, Lauren has handled herself with poise and grace during this uncertain time."

    Ho and Capobianco have worked in the Department of Nursing Professional Practice as Nursing Professional Development Specialists for about two years. In just two weeks during the pandemic, they "have educated an increased number of nurses new to NYU as well as 400+ travel RNs."

    They have also trained existing nurses that work in perioperative and procedural settings to the inpatient setting and over 200 acute care nurses to care for ICU-level patients as NYU opened more ICU’s to meet the need of the COVID-positive patient population.

    Garel and Capobianco helped discharge the 1,000th COVID patient from the hospital when Capobianco suddenly recognized an attending physician in the crowd, Dr. Kevin Huack '07.

    "I think Scranton grads gravitate to each other and also gravitate to the greatest challenges."

    "I introduced him to Lauren, and said, 'Look at us Scranton grads at this historic moment!'" said Capobianco. "I then had the honor of helping to escort the 1,000th COVID patient out of the hospital to the cheers of hundreds of our employees and watched her reunite with her daughter who she had not seen for a month while she was in the hospital. There was not a dry eye in the crowd, and I was so honored to be a part of it."

    The Scranton alumnae continue to reach out to new nurses who enter the NYU system.

    "It is always fun to connect with them and reignite our Scranton community here," said Capobianco, who met one of her best friends, also a Scranton grad, at NYU. "I think Scranton grads gravitate to each other and also gravitate to the greatest challenges, which is why I am so proudly with so many right now."

    One she can no longer be with is her former NYU colleague and Scranton classmate, Mary Grace Dirks '01, who recently died of cancer at the end of April. Because of the pandemic, no visitors other than Dirks' husband, also a Scranton alumnus, were allowed to visit her. Just hours before she died, a mutual NYU friend was able to hold Dirks' hand and "tell her that all of her Scranton friends loved her," said Capobianco. 

    "The nursing world is strong and loyal," she said. "Scranton built a sense of community that is unlike other universities."

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