A lot has changed at SERV Behavioral Health System Inc. over the past three decades, yet some things have remained constant. One of them is the presence of Patricia Delgado, RN, BSN. Affectionately known as ‘’Nurse Patty” by consumers and her co-workers, Patricia has served as a Nursing Services Coordinator in SERV Centers for more than 25 years. Whether educating staff on prescription medication, fighting the healthcare bureaucracy, or advocating for consumers, she has proven time and time again to be a compassionate leader, and her commitment to our mission and those in our care has never wavered.
Recently, Patricia celebrated a milestone anniversary, and we caught up with her to learn more about her time at SERV and what has kept her so passionate about her career for all these years.
Q: When did you begin working at SERV? What attracted you to the organization?
A: I started with SERV in 1995, at the beginning of May. Prior to that, I was working in a hospital in the area for 15 years. I remember, one of my co-workers at the hospital had left to pursue a career at SERV, and he highly recommended the organization to me. Also, a lot of the patients I was working with were in SERV programs, and I knew that if I went to SERV, I’d be able to establish better relationships with them and interact with them one-on-one in a more normal environment.
Ultimately, it was about job satisfaction. I wasn’t getting a lot out of the hospital, and I wanted to do more than just paperwork. SERV offered me the opportunity to be more involved with consumers, advocate for them, and help them get the services they deserve.
Q: What has changed in the time you’ve been at SERV? What has stayed the same?
A: Where do I begin? So much has changed. We have really grown significantly as an organization. We have so many more group homes and apartments than we had when I started. We have also been able to expand into new areas and upgrade our facilities and programs. Because of all this, we have been able to help more consumers live independently, work, and go to school.
What’s stayed the same are the mission, vision, and values. Even though we’ve gone through a lot of changes, we remain devoted to those we serve.
Q: What are some of your fondest memories?
A: What I truly love is helping people who were institutionalized for many years see that they can live in the community and lead fulfilling lives. I have so many memories of helping people realize their dreams and become the best versions of themselves. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be there and advocate for the consumers. For many consumers, we are home, and they look to us as family, even though staff maintain therapeutic boundaries. We know we have done and continue to do the best we can for the individuals in our care. In many instances, we have worked with consumers who have terminal illnesses and provided compassionate care for them up until their final days. The memories I’ve made with them—and all the consumers I’ve worked with—will stay with me forever.
I also really enjoy the client conferences, holiday parties, and events we hold for consumers. We always look forward to these celebrations every year. One year, I remember, the consumers rented tuxes and limos to go to our event. They budgeted for it and everything. We’ve always had great Halloween parties, as well, with pumpkin carving contests and costume contests. It’s extremely rewarding to see everyone so happy and excited.
If I were to call on one particular memory, it would have to be a sweet 16 birthday party we held for a resident. The resident had always wanted a sweet 16 party, but never got one, and we were able to make that dream happen for her when she was in her fifties. We made the party rock and roll theme, bought her clothes from the times, and decorated the house. We really went all out, and the consumer had an amazing time.
Q: What is the best part of your job? What keeps you wanting to come to work every day?
A: That’s easy. The residents! And the staff! My job is incredibly rewarding, and I’m happy to have made an impact on so many lives and met so many amazing people.
Q: What are you looking forward to in the future?
A: I would love to see us able to provide more services in a setting to meet the physical challenges of the aging population. I’m also excited to help more people and to see co-workers progress in their careers.