Life-long friends that share a love for education and an inherent desire to help others.
Dr. Dorothea Hays PPTA ’87
Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Specialist, Professor Emerita, Adelphi University School of Nursing
Dr. Nancy Noel CAGS ’97, ’03, ’05, ’08
Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Professor Emerita, Adelphi University School of Nursing
As the story of Dorothea Hays and Nancy Noel unfolds—how they met, their friendship, and their integrated careers—they help each other remember. The two women finish each other’s sentences, the way life-long friends do naturally. It makes perfect sense; their friendship has spanned over thirty years.
What makes a bond like theirs so strong? Besides the fact that they share so much of themselves with each other, the two friends have always shared a love for education and an inherent desire to help others.
Their special friendship began when they shared classes together while pursuing doctoral degrees at Teachers College, Columbia University. As they got to know each other, they realized they had a lot in common. They developed a friendship that has continued today. Dr. Noel and Dr. Hays had similar ideas and values; they still enjoy spending time together and often study together. They recall needing to pass a course in pharmacology, and relying on each to do it.
After receiving their degrees from Teachers College, their career paths diverged, only to be reunited when Dr. Noel joined Dr. Hays as part of the faculty in Adelphi’s School of Nursing. The two former classmates, now colleagues, were able to integrate their passion for teaching and love for learning. In addition to educating future generations of nurses, the two women furthered their own studies, both taking classes at Adelphi’s Gordon F. Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies.
After years dedicated to the education of Adelphi students, Dr. Noel and Dr. Hays retired together in 2001; they were both named Professor Emerita. Even in retirement, both women remained active at Adelphi; Dr. Noel as a senior adjunct faculty in nursing, and Dr. Hays, by reading students’ dissertations. Both women are still involved with Adelphi today, often meeting to attend lectures at Derner together.
Drs. Hays and Noel credit their lasting friendship to their continual intellectual exchanges and shared values, their willingness and wanting to take care of the other, and to the fact that they converse so easily and can listen to the other forever.
Today Dr. Noel lives in Manhasset and Dr. Hays resides in West Hempstead—only a five minute drive to Adelphi! With less than ten miles between them, the women are just a short car ride away from visiting each other. In her free time, Dr. Noel enjoys doing yoga, reading, and spending time with her family in their cabin in the Adirondacks. Dr. Hays enjoys tai chi and swimming as well as doing Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
When and why did you first want to become a nurse?
Dr. Hays: After finishing high school in Germany, I had no money to go to college. At the time, nursing was the land of opportunity for an immigrant like me; I turned to nursing because it was a way to get a free education. I went through a three-year program to get my nursing diploma before getting my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing. Nursing was never my goal; my goal was always to teach. I never thought I wanted to get into nursing; yet as a psychiatric nurse I poured all of myself into what I did. As opportunities presented themselves, I grabbed them. I do not regret being a nurse; I loved every bit of it.
Dr. Noel: I always had a love for people, learning, and teaching; I became a student nurse at 17. Nursing is a humane field and continues to give opportunities to help others as well as ourselves.
Do you have favorite memories of your time at Adelphi and your residencies?
Dr. Noel: There was something about Derner that I hadn’t experienced before. The quality of teaching was different. I felt I was getting new opportunities I would not have received anywhere else. The members of the faculty at Derner were very intuitive and helped my development as a psychoanalyst.
What advice would you give to today’s nursing students?
Dr. Hays: Nursing is a great field to get into…There is no limit to where you can go and what you can do with a nursing degree.
Get a good scientific background… you’ll need it!
Dr. Noel: There are so many good opportunities in the field of nursing; take advantage of opportunities to further your learning…If you think you are interested in something, try it.
Stand up for yourself. You may learn a lot.
Take good care of yourself and the people you care for.
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