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A Catholic Health nurse celebrates 50 years on the job

74-year-old Sandy Pidanick says she's not sure when she'll retire because she loves her job too much.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — When it came to choosing a career 50 years ago, Sandy Pindanick didn't choose her calling. It chose her.

"My mother died when I was 18. She originally wanted to be a nurse herself," Pidanick said. 

She took career placement tests in high school, which all determined she needed to help people. After years of that calling begging her to pick up, eventually Pidanick did by volunteering at a hospital in 1970. 

"I applied for a nurse aid position at Kenmore Mercy, and that started the whole thing," Pidanick said. 

Pidanick went to nursing school at Manpower, before it closed in Niagara Falls, got her associate's degree at Trocaire, and got her bachelor's at Daemen. It took her 10 years to get those degrees because she was also working and raising four kids with her husband. 

Eventually Pidanick realized she loved working with seniors the most, having plenty moments reminding her why she needs to do the job.  

"We had a woman who was dying. I got used to taking care of her and bonded with her," Pidanick said. "She was afraid to die alone, so I finished my shift at 11:30, and then I stayed the night shift with her just to help her, and she did die shortly thereafter."

Pidanick has spent the last 11 years at St. Catherine Laboure but has been a director of nursing at different long term care facilities since the 90s.

"I'm 74. I don't know (when I'm going to retire). I love my work. I love the patients," Pidanick said. 

This nurses week, remember to thank all those like Pidanick who have spent their entire career helping your loved ones, because to them, your loved ones are not just patients. They are everything. 

"(I will probably do this job until I can't). Probably. My one son, he always says 'Finish your last shift, mom, and get in one of the beds,' " Pidanick said. 

"I always tell everybody, if I can make someone smile in a day who has a lot of problems going on, that's made my day."

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