St. Jude nurse on patients: "I take them in as my own" - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

St. Jude nurse on patients: "I take them in as my own"

Tricia Mamer (Source: WMC Action News 5) Tricia Mamer (Source: WMC Action News 5)

Nurse manager Tricia Mamer never had children of her own, so she treats every patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as one of her own.

"I take them in as my own, and I treat them as my own," Mamer said. Mamer manages the ambulatory care unit at St. Jude.

St. Jude is the only place she ever wanted to work. She never applied anywhere else.

"I was in and out of the hospital when I was younger, and I had some good nurses and some not so good nurses," Mamer said. "And I just knew I wanted to be a good nurse for children."

St. Jude has been Mamer’s home away from home for 24 years. In her time at the hospital, she has treated kids from all over the world.

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"I had a patient from Venezuela who I got extremely close to, and we would play Battleship," Mamer said. "She would teach me my letters and words in Spanish, and she would say hers in English."

She admits some days aren't easy, but said the patients have done more for her than she has ever been able to do for them.     

"It can be hard, but it’s got so much hope, and we do provide so many cures and we do see kids come back," Mamer said. "That is the joy and the gift--they teach me how to play every day. It doesn’t matter what my age is, I can still play. They teach me how to still have hope; how to believe."

Through the intense treatments, surgeries, and therapy many of these kids go through, she's found the best medicine is a laugh.

"You can’t lose the humor and the play because that is so desperately important to them," Mamer said. "If you forget that at any point, it takes away from their normalcy. It takes away from the positive experience."

Being able to tell the families they don't have to worry about the cost of anything at St. Jude is one of her favorite parts of the job.

That is thanks to the donors.

"It is one of the most wonderful feelings," she said. "To think the $10 or $20 donation doesn’t matter is totally incorrect. Anything matters. Everything matters."

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