Presently working in the intensive care unit (ICU), Nadira S. Drepaul, RN, knew at 17 years old that she wanted to be a nurse. There was a group of female students at her high school who weren’t sure what they wanted to do, and there was a wonderful counselor who suggested they go into nursing. Ms. Drepaul knew she always wanted to help people. At first, she wanted to be a social worker, which was still in the same line of wanting to help people. She truly believes that being a nurse touches the lives of not just so many patient, but their families as well. Sometimes, she has had to be with a family and patient when they take their last breath. She chose the teaching aspect because she felt that in nursing programs, they never discussed death. They talked about the stages, but you never experience death until you start practicing. Reading a textbook and being there are two different things.
Ms. Drepaul currently serves as a registered nurse at NYU Langone Health in New York since 1995, specifically working in ICU since 2001. During this time, she also served as an adjunct clinical instructor at New York University (NYU) from 2002 to 2010 and Lehman College, a senior college of the City University of New York (CUNY), from 2012 to 2015. In addition to this tenure, Ms. Drepaul served on NYU’s ethics committee as well as the Community Emergency Response Team of the Bronx. She has said that if she ever returned to teaching, she sees herself as a clinical instructor. She has never dabbled in staff development, but she would like to try it. She doesn’t want to do it at NYU, but she would like to challenge herself and do it somewhere else.
Enjoying feeling like she is doing more for the patient, Ms. Drepaul is not split by taking care of eight or nine patients; she typically has one or two. She takes the time to get to know the family and the patient. In her career as a nurse, she has people come up to her whom she doesn’t remember, but they remember her and that she was their nurse. It is very touching. NYU is a very teaching environment, where you are consistently learning, and Ms. Drepaul has worked with some really great people with whom she never feels alone.
Prior to the start of her professional career, Ms. Drepaul pursued a formal education at Lehman College, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1994. She went on to matriculate at NYU, where she attained a Master of Science in nursing education in 2006. Ms. Drepaul attributes her success to having good family support, and she has a strong belief system with herself. She tries not to take the things around her personally, and also tries to think in terms of positive intent.
In recognition of her continued efforts, Ms. Drepaul was honored with the Clinical Instructor Award by Lehman College in 2015. Today, she is the proud mother of three wonderful children. Five years from now, Ms. Drepaul would like to move out of New York. She is considering moving somewhere else, perhaps farther out west.