|Teresa Ryan ’83|
Over the last 25 years, Teresa (Silva) Ryan has seen many changes in the nursing field, but she said some fundamentals should never change.
Ryan draws parallels between her student experience at the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing and her expectation of the ideal patient experience. Patients, like students, want to be treated as individuals, she said.
“At UST, I was surrounded by faculty and students who wanted to make a difference in the community – that’s the kind of people UST attracts,” Ryan said “Over the last 10-15 years, I saw that nursing graduates lacked a certain spiritual element and holistic approach to nursing that lends itself to compassionate patient care. St. Thomas nursing graduates were known for those qualities, and I would like to see those qualities return to more hospitals.”
Nursing spans the generations of Ryan’s family. Her mother attended Sacred Heart Dominican College, and two of her children are nurses. After graduating from the University of St. Thomas School of Nursing in 1983, Ryan worked in obstetric nursing at St. Joseph Hospital as a staff nurse and eventually as a nursing director of the department. After obtaining a certification in Legal Nurse Consulting and two years of experience as an education coordinator for the certification program, she now serves as the Risk Manager at St. Joseph Medical Center. She continues to be involved with UST as president-elect of the Nursing Alumni Association and a mentor in the USTinsights program.
The nationwide nursing shortage presents a constant challenge and time crunch for nurses who are spread thin, Ryan said. The key to wellness, as taught by the UST nursing faculty, is the holistic approach where nurses, doctors, patients and their families work together as a care team.
“Healing is not just about correcting a chemical imbalance or fixing whatever is broken,” Ryan said. “You have to examine all of the healing factors including faith and the family dynamics.”