Home & Garden

Parsippany Woman Honored by Hospital

db212fa2a1007150fa4d_MeenaPatel1200x800.jpg
Meena Patel Credits: SMMC
a6913a963c895246bdc7_stmichaelsmedcenter.jpeg
St. Michaels Medical Center Credits: Youtube
db212fa2a1007150fa4d_MeenaPatel1200x800.jpg

NEWARK, NJ - Meena Patel had been living in the United States for less than a decade when her husband died. At the time, she worried about how she would raise her two young children with no help.

"It was scary. I didn't know what was going to happen next," said the Parsippany woman. "I didn't know if I would be able to pay rent. It happened all of a sudden. I thought how many hours will I have to work to provide food and roof for my children."

The struggles that defined her life as a young widow helped shape who she would later become in life - a caring and compassionate nurses' assistant at Saint Michael's Medical Center in Newark.

Sign Up for E-News

"Life has been a struggle, but let me tell you, every time I ever do anything from my heart, God has rewarded me," said Patel, who is deeply religious. "I believe in Karma very strongly. You must to the right thing always."

Patel was named the employee of the month for February at Saint Michael's for doing right by patients.

Patel said she is guided by one principal: The person she is caring for could be a family member.

"Every day I come to work very happy," Patel said. "I provide patients care with kindness, love and respect and I go home very happy that I did something good for somebody."

Janice Learn, the nursing supervisor on A4, the unit where Patel works, said patients consistently speak glowingly of Patel.

"Meena is a hard worker who often stays if needed after her shift," Learn said. "Her coworkers enjoy working with her and the patients can't say enough good things about the care she provides."

Patel's first job was with Saint James Hospital in Newark's Ironbound. Though she was trained as a nurse in India, she could not work immediately as a nurse in New Jersey without further schooling, testing and licensing. So she started out as a nurses' assistant with the goal of one day becoming a nurse.

But when her husband died of a brain stem infarction in 1998, her plans changed and she focused on raising her children, who were 4 and 9 at the time.

In 2008, when Saint James was closed, Patel applied for jobs at other hospitals, including Saint Michael's.

"When I came home and heard on the answering machine that Saint Michael's was offering me a full-time job, it was the happiest day," Patel said. "I was a single mom. I was raising two kids by myself without any help. It was so scary."

At the time, Cathedral Healthcare System, which owned Saint Michael's, Saint James and Columbus Hospital, sold the three hospitals to Catholic Health East, which closed Saint James and Columbus. Like Patel, a number of Saint James and Columbus employees found work at Saint Michael's. Prime Healthcare purchased the hospital in May 2016.

Including her time at Saint James, Patel has 30 years of service.

At one point, Patel, who never remarried, worked as many as three jobs to save enough money to send her children to college.

Patel's children are now grown. Her son graduated from NJIT with a degree in mechanical engineering and was recently married. Her daughter is graduating from Rutgers University with a pharmacy degree.

"I feel myself a little bit lonely," said Patel, who will soon be an empty nester. "But I know myself. I will do more volunteer hours. Because I came from India, I always admired Mother Theresa. I can't be Mother Theresa, but I can follow in her footsteps."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Parsippany

FREE MORRIS COUNTY VETERANS LEGAL CLINIC AND BENEFITS EXPO

April 19, 2018

APRIL 27 EVENT OPEN TO VETS FROM ALL 39 MORRIS TOWNS

A free Morris County Veterans Legal Clinic and Resources Expo will be on Friday, April 27 at the Morristown Municipal Building, hosted by the Morris County Bar Foundation and Morris County Veterans’ Services Office, in cooperation with the Town of Morristown.

The clinic/expo will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the town hall at 200 ...

Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Police Use of Force and Officer Involved Shooting Program is a Great Success

MORRIS COUNTY, NJ - On the afternoon of Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office hosted the first of their four “21-County, 21st Century Community Policing Project” programs. The “21/21 Community Policing Project” was implemented by New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and aims to cultivate relationships between local law enforcement ...

MORRIS HISTORY: NEW RESEARCH TO TELL STORY OF MORRIS CANALS AND PORT DELAWARE

MORRIS HISTORY: NEW RESEARCH TO TELL STORY OF MORRIS CANALS

AND PORT DELAWARE

Register Now: April 28 Canals and Local History Symposium is Selling Out

Newly acquired letters, documents and drawings reveal an untold story of the daily operations of the Morris Canal, a thoroughfare that was considered a technological marvel in the 1800s for its innovative use of water-driven inclined ...

Holocaust Survivor to Speak

MONTVILLE, NJ – In commemoration of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, the Pine Brook Jewish Center presents speaker and Holocaust survivor Olga Menczer on Sunday, April 15 at 10 a.m. at the center.

Menczer was born and raised in the Hungary’s capital city of Budapest. She and her older sister survived slave labor, Ravensbrük Concentration Camp, and a Death March.

Come ...

New Jersey PTA Awarded Grant to Engage Families in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

New Jersey PTA Awarded Grant to Engage Families in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education

Grant supports STEM + Families initiative to increase student access to STEM experiences

Alexandria, Virginia

National PTA and the Bayer USA Foundation have awarded New Jersey PTA with a $4,000 grant to engage families in STEM education.  New Jersey PTA is one of only seven ...

Blood Reserves Challenged by Patient Demand

New Jersey Blood Services would like to announce that it is conducting blood drives in your area which are open to the public. Please include these drives in any listing of community events which you maintain.  The following drives are scheduled in the near future:

Friday, May 4, 2018   Islamic Center of Morris County, 1 Mannino Drive, Rockaway 11:00 ...

Upcoming Events

Thu, April 19, 7:00 PM

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison

METC hosting Travelers and Taverns: An Evening ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Food & Drink

Sat, May 5, 9:00 AM

First Presbyterian Church of Succasunna, Succasunna

Pre-Owned Treasures Sale At First Presbyterian ...

Other

Carousel_image_41347cce18723101343a_rfl-logo

Sat, May 5, 4:00 PM

Morristown Armory, Morristown

Relay For Life of Greater Morristown

Giving Back Health & Wellness

John Cesaro and Aura Dunn form Freeholder Ticket

April 10, 2018

“The Smart, Conservative Choice for Morris County”

Incumbent Cesaro and Mendham Borough resident, Aura Dunn will run together for the Republican Primary on June 5, 2018.

Both candidates hold advanced degrees and have a combined 40 years in public service.  Cesaro, with a law degree from Quinnipiac University and Dunn, a Master of Public Administration from the George ...

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick Makes a Career Day Visit to New Providence

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Assemblyman Jon Bramnick helped the kids at the New Providence Middle School answer the age-old question - What do you want to be when you grow up?  The Assembly Leader spent the day with the students talking about what it's like to be a NJ State Legislaturor and an attorney during their annual Career Day.  The kids were interested and ...