"My father was very much against my becoming a nurse because his image of nursing at that time was bedpans...So he went down to Mass General with me for an interview with the Guidance Councilor. He came out of there thinking it was the best thing since sliced white bread. She was able to show him it wasn't just emptying bedpans. As a matter of fact he became on the biggest advocate of nursing after that."
Born in 1946 in Worcester, Mary Aleksiewicz grew up with a strong ethic of family care that ultimately led her to a career in nursing. Mary is currently the Vice President of Nursing at Fairlawn Rehabilitation Hospital. In this interview, she focuses heavily on her experiences as a working mother. She emphasizes the importance of family in her life and talks at length about her concern for today’s generation of working mothers. Mary discusses the way that women’s roles in general—and the nursing profession more specifically—have changed drastically over time. She recounts her experiences of convincing her father that there was more to nursing than bedpans when she was entering the field as a young woman and describes the satisfaction she derives from working with rehabilitation patients in long-term recovery. Mary also touches upon her experiences growing up in Worcester—playing in her neighborhood and at Crystal Park. She reflects upon the negative changes that she has witnessed over time, but expresses hope for Worcester’s future. In addition, she discusses her own personal health, specifically related to physical exercise and strategies for relaxation and stress-management.