Altru nurse advocates both patient and family; Cariveau named to Nursing Hall of Fame
Joellen Cariveau has spent 35 years in nursing working with different generations. The East Grand Forks native manages the post-anesthesia care unit and surgical critical care unit at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks. "The PACU group has been my sis...
Joellen Cariveau has spent 35 years in nursing working with different generations.
The East Grand Forks native manages the post-anesthesia care unit and surgical critical care unit at Altru Hospital in Grand Forks.
"The PACU group has been my sisters and the SCCU group has been my kids," said Cariveau, who will be given Altru's annual Nursing Hall of Fame Award today by the hospital's Professional Nurse Committee. She is the 18th recipient of the award, which coincides with National Nurses Week.
"It's a privilege having the opportunity to be part of so many people's lives," Cariveau said.
Cariveau said she made the decision to pursue nursing when she was a senior at East Grand Forks Sacred Heart High School, but there was some inspiration within the family.
"My mom was the neighborhood nurse," Cariveau said. "I'd see her patch up the neighborhood kids, including my five brothers. She could make a mean butterfly bandage."
After graduating from St. Luke's School of Nursing in 1975, Cariveau worked on a 50-bed ward at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth. It had been only a month since Deaconess and St. Mike's hospitals in Grand Forks combined to become United Hospital when she started in 1976. She was a float nurse for a short time before transitioning to a role in critical care.
Cariveau said she loves working with the staff, patients and families, who have influenced her to work by what she calls "a golden rule."
"Treat the family as you would treat patients because they may be more aware of the dire circumstances than the patient," she said.
She said she feels honored to be with a family when they are experiencing difficult times. "It is a real privilege to be with a family when a patient is dying because you are part of a pivotal, intimate moment."
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