Memories of Linda
It is difficult to capture the true essence of a person’s spirit, but I am going to try. Linda Handley’s friends and colleagues remember her as the nurse in the cap. At a time when many nurses were shedding the older ways of their profession and removing their caps, Linda chose to wear hers with pride. She once told Maria Holjes, RN, “The reason I wear it is because I am proud to be a nurse.” Debbie Beamer, RN, remembers that Linda was always dressed crisply in her white uniform, dark blue sweater, and her white cap. “That cap was her trademark.”
Linda was a highly organized nurse, who was the gatekeeper for the unit to which she was assigned. Lou Taylor, RN, remembers Linda as the night charge nurse who was caring, supportive, and competent – but above all, she was organized. The units on which she worked were always clean and organized for the next shift of nurses. Linda took great pride in keeping things orderly. She was known for being on the unit early so she could put her ducks in a row.
Linda is also remembered for mentoring new employees and nursing students. She had high expectations of others and expected them to possess integrity, compassion, dedication and the courage to advocate for the clients. Yet she was always supportive and encouraging. Coaching and mentoring were an important part of the essence of Linda, not only with staff and students but also with the faculty of Riverside School of Professional Nursing.
I remember Linda on the Women’s Unit ten years ago when I was a new faculty member, and then again on 5 East. She always made sure that my materials were available for me, labeled with my name, and waiting for me at the beginning of the shift. I always laughed and said she was a caretaker for faculty, staff and students, but I really did enjoy having my materials so neatly organized and ready.
All of us who worked with Linda remember her as a good friend. She collected angels and often shared these with others. She once gave a gift to Debbie Beamer, and the gift said, “Good friends are forever. I have seen the good things God can do because he blessed my life with you.” Linda’s collecting of angels and friends seems to me an appropriate expression of the joy and compassion of her spirit.
Linda also had a fantasy that when nursing got to be too much for her she was going to work in the Hallmark store. Thankfully, that never happened because of her love for the nursing profession. While many at Riverside miss Linda, her spirit will always be a part of her friends and colleagues.
Jane K. Sterling, MAEd, MSN, RN
Faculty, Riverside School of Professional Nursing
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Dedication to Linda Handley
In her twenty-five years in the nursing profession, Linda Handley, RN, believed in the concepts stated in the poem below. Her memory will live on through the scholarship fund that her family and friends have established.
Jane Sterling remembered Linda as a friend and co-worker in her article above. Linda’s husband, George Handley, sent out a letter to all Riverside Health System nurses giving them the opportunity to remember his wife through contributions to The Nurse In The Hat Fund.
As the new century progresses, our hats are off to all Riverside nurses; for nurses are and will continue to be what Riverside is famous for, quality nursing care. We invite you to join us in celebrating our differences and similarities both among people in society and within the culture of the nursing workplace.
A Nurse’s Poem:
Regardless of My Origin or Culture, I Need:
To feel comfortable and safe within my psychological and physical space;
A home that reflects my individuality;
Surroundings that are aesthetic;
To find meaning in my natural environment;
Nutrition that conforms to my customs and religion;
To be clean and in a state of comfort;
Quiet and restful sleep and leisure;
Constantly to learn new things in life;
For others to understand my verbal and nonverbal communication;
Respect and dignity;
Family love and belonging;
Friends who understand me;
A belief system that offers spiritual comfort;
A death appropriate to the life I have lived.
M. Caroline Martin, MHA, RN
Executive Vice President, Riverside Health System
Editor-in-Chief, Riverside Nurse
Marilyn Barton, BSN, RN
Director, Patient Education, Riverside Regional Medical Center
Editor, Riverside Nurse