A small stature of 4 feet, 9 inches never once stopped Joyce Simko Engelhardt from pursuing her calling to serve others. Volunteering as a candy striper and later heading off to nursing school were merely confirmations of God’s plan for her life. Upon graduating from high school, Engelhardt enlisted [or tried] in the Army but was turned away due to the height restrictions.
“I always joked I could easily identify 10-year-old boys because I was the same height as many of them,” said Engelhardt.
After nursing school, Engelhardt worked on the medical-surgical floor where she built a career and a family. However, she couldn’t resist, and applied for the Army Reserves where she knew her height would be waived. Retiring in 2013 after nearly 30 years of service, Engelhardt is now considered a veteran and is in her 43rd year of nursing at St. Vincent Healthcare. As a nurse in the orthopedic department, she enjoys the variety of patients she serves.
“Everyone has a story before they arrive at St. Vincent’s,” said Engelhardt. “Besides their injuries, I don’t know what else is going on in the patient’s life. My goal is to care for each patient unconditionally because ultimately, I see patients at their worst. I take it as a challenge. I’m able to turn their mood around and build a rapport with the patient.”
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