Alumni Spotlight | Marjorie Gill Patzer
What are you doing now?
I have worked as a nurse for 55 years in various positions including pediatrics, medical-surgical, and ICU/CCU. I started several new programs including a cardiac rehab program, a fitness center (first for-profit department of the hospital) and a weight loss program. I served as the Chief Nurse Executive for Stanislaus County Medical Center and Stanislaus County Psychiatric Hospital.
In 1995, I started an S Corporation for consulting with a nurse colleague, Jerilyn "Muffy" Ratto RN, MPH. As independent nurses, we have consulted for hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, helped start new psychiatric programs and skilled nursing facilities and performed legal nurse consulting, serving as expert witnesses. We have a California Master Service Agreement (CMSA) with the state of California to perform work. www.phcsinc.net. Our contracts have included: California Department of Veterans Affairs to review care at CA veterans facilities; California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to review health care staffing at California prisons and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development's (OSHPD) California Coronary Outcome Reporting Program (CCORP) to complete a blind audit of coronary artery bypass graft surgeries (CABG) charts for California hospitals. The data produced from this project assists in developing the published hospital and surgeon report cards in California. At 76, I am still working and only take jobs I love.
Our corporation has grown to include our two daughters. Juli Ratto Weaver RN, MS is an OB clinical nurse specialist and Cheryl Patzer RN, MS is a transplant clinical nurse specialist. Our daughters are developing new career options and continuing to expand our business.
What is your fondest memory from your time at SMU?
I have loved every minute of being a nurse. My fondest memories of SMU were the friendships I developed and the fun we had living in all the Samuel Merritt housing units. Our favorite prank was placing the skeleton from the classroom on the porch roof of the old Farley Hall with a sign that read, “Where the heck is the chimney? I have been waiting since last Christmas.”
What was the most important thing you took away from your time at SMU?
The lessons I learned at SMU regarding critical thinking skills, leadership, patient advocacy, and teamwork have proved invaluable. Whenever I applied for a new job, I stated that I was a Merritt grad. They all knew that Merritt produced excellent nurses.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during school?
The biggest challenges I faced during school was getting enough sleep. We worked or were in school 40 hours per week. It was rough, but the regime prepared us for any job.
If you could change one thing about your time at SMU, knowing what you know now, what would it be?
Medicine and nursing have changed so much since I graduated that it is difficult to say what I would change. We were still doing rotating tourniquets for pulmonary edema and back pressure-arm lift for CPR. Learning to keep up with technology and advances in nursing and medicine are essential elements to remaining successful.
If you could give new students one piece of advice, what would it be?
My advice to new students includes:
- Experience different areas of nursing
- Continue reading nursing and medical journals and learning skills
- Look for and accept a challenge when it is offered
- Love nursing!