By Tricia Schug
After 30 years of nursing at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital (SPCH), Theresa Capri, RN, in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU), still feels her work matters, in part because of her deep roots in Newport.
“I have lived here long enough to know a lot of people from the community so I recognize many of our patients when they come in. I’ve seen how having a familiar face to greet them helps ease their anxiety,” she said. “I feel I make a difference.”
It’s one of the reasons she remains in the job after 30 years. Her team is another.
“I work with an awesome group of people,” she said. “They are knowledgeable, collaborative professionals with great attitudes and true caring for our patients. And they offer me support when I need it. We can rely on each other and we work well as a team.”
When Capri started at SPCH in 1987, she worked in ICU, which, back then, was located in what is now the hospital’s education room. After several years, she moved into Surgery Recovery, where she has been ever since.
As a young student, Capri didn’t expect to be a nurse. Instead, she had her sights on engineering.
“Math was my favorite subject and I thought it would be fun to do math problems all day,” she said. However, mid-way through her senior year in high school, perhaps swayed by her love of working with people and also the plethora of scholarships available at the time for nursing school, she chose to pursue nursing.
Married to a commercial fisherman and mother of four children, Capri has worked part-time her whole career. “Having that option is very important to me. It was critical when my children were young, and now, I truly love my job and I love my life outside of work. I wouldn’t have it any other way; being able to work part-time is really a big reason why I’ve been here so long,” she said.
When not caring for patients, Capri can be found up to her elbows in dirt, tending to lettuce, kale, herbs, zucchini, tomatoes and other vegetables, as well as a variety of flowers, growing in her garden and greenhouse. Capri also enjoys biking and other “outdoorsy stuff,” as well as spending time with family.
As she reflects back on her 30-year (so far) career, Capri said she would not have changed a thing about her choices. “I would choose the same career, I really would. I’ve been very happy with nursing,” she said.
Capri was one of three employees recognized for 30 years of service to SPCH at a May 10 employee event. The annual celebration honors employees with five years of service and more.