91-year-old Massachusetts nurse honored as community hero

Jean McCarthy — the second oldest practicing nurse in the U.S. — was honored by the Hellenic American Academy in Lowell, Mass., April 26 as a part of the school's ongoing effort to honor community heroes like police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and nurses, according to the Lowell Sun.

Students, parents and faculty, as well as the mayor, a state senator, members of the city council and nursing students from the University of Massachusetts in Lowell all attended the ceremony.

Speaking on her vocation, Ms. McCarthy highlighted the importance of communication with patients and said she hopes the emerging reliance on technology doesn't take away from the important personal touches essential to the nursing profession. She offered a bit of advice to nursing students in attendance:

"Listen to the patient and see if they're afraid of something, or explain what you're doing and why," she said, according to the Lowell Sun. "It's important to have communication with [patients]."

Ms. McCarthy began her career in 1946, spending several years in the Boston area. She was previously employed at Massachusetts General in Boston and Sancta Maria Hospital in Cambridge, Mass. For the last 24 years, Ms. McCarthy has worked at Lowell's Community Family Alzheimer's Day Health Center.

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