Professor Emerita at Molloy College
Favorite Professors: “Pierre Woog: he was a real genius; Barbara Kos-Munson: my mentor. Her depth of knowledge and infinite wisdom guided not only my dissertation, but my entire Adelphi experience; Gail Malloy: her enfolding erudition served as an inspiration and Ruth Hyman; whose brilliance frequently lit my way.”
Involvement at Adelphi: Founder and first chair of the University’s Doctoral Students Association at the University. “We held meetings on Saturdays across from alumni house and would bring in speakers…it was a great experience.”
Interesting Volunteer Work: Central Park’s Enforcement Patrol – Mounted Unit;
Dive Boat Nurse in Bimini, Cuba, Tortola, and Honduras.
Advice for Today’s Nursing Students: “Remember that every patient is different, and each patient should be treated as if he or she is the only one.”
While many of us spend our lives searching for the perfect job, Lorraine Magnani didn’t choose her career, it chose her. “In the old days, when doctors used to make home visits, I remember being asked repeatedly: ‘are you a nurse?'” she recalls. “I had enough people telling me I sounded like a nurse that I began to wonder if I should pursue nursing!”
After seeking the advice of a family friend who was a doctor, she decided she would earn her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Molloy College. With just nine months left to complete her degree, her husband and high school sweetheart, Louis Magnani, was offered a career opportunity in Europe that could not be passed up.
At the time Mr. Magnani was Corporate Creative Director of Marsteller, one of the largest advertising agencies in the world. He distinctly recalls his wife’s dedication to her education during the move. “She was adamant about completing her bachelor’s degree,” he says of Dr. Magnani, who travelled back and forth between New York and Brussels to complete her coursework.
Following graduation, she moved to Belgium where she worked as a critical care nurse at the Hospital St. Pierre and then the Institute Edith Cavell. Living in Europe also afforded Dr. Magnani and her husband the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe, including the old USSR, as well as Egypt, Israel and China.
Upon returning to the United States, Dr. Magnani and her husband (now President of Marsteller, USA) were accustomed to urban life after living in the center of Brussels for over five years, so they moved to New York City. Dr. Magnani transitioned from the hospital floor to the classroom, entering the world of academia to pursue her master’s degree for the teaching of nursing from New York University. “My roots are grounded in clinical,” she says, “my ideals in academia.” After graduating, she joined the nursing faculty at Molloy College.
It was while teaching at Molloy that she learned about Adelphi. Already signed up to pursue her doctorate at Columbia, in the summer of 1981 she received a flyer describing Adelphi’s new doctoral program, which invited those interested to come listen to faculty speak. She decided to attend, and was blown away: “Adelphi’s faculty was articulate, incredible, unbelievable,” she recalls. “People were going crazy, asking where they could get applications for admission. I never saw faculty inspire like that.”
From that moment, she knew she belonged at the University: “I saw and heard that Adelphi is a community of scholars,” she recalls. “I wanted to be a part of that.” Once enrolled, she found the University’s curriculum to be well-designed: “Adelphi’s program was like building blocks,” she says. “Everything you learned in one course would be taken up a level in the next one.”
When it came time to write her dissertation, most students had a secretary type and someone in the field of English edit that work. She completed her dissertation by herself. She credits this accomplishment to the well-rounded education she received: “I had the confidence from my Adelphi education that I could do these things on my own,” she recalls.
While her nursing doctoral class started with about 50 students, she was the only one to complete her degree in 1986. Dr. Magnani’s professors were beaming with pride for her; she was their first student to graduate from Adelphi’s doctoral program.
After receiving her degree, she continued to teach at Molloy College, where she shared her wealth of knowledge, years of clinical experience, and passion for nursing with students for over 20 years, becoming the Director of the Graduate Program before retiring as Professor Emerita in 2002.
Dr. Magnani has these words of wisdom to share with Adelphi students interested in embarking on a career in nursing today: “Florence Nightingale said nursing was a calling; it is not a job anyone can do. I believe it takes a special passion about caring for people to be a nurse,” she says. “There is something that makes us want to become a nurse; something special, something undefined – something few of us can explain.”
She tries to describe the indefinable call to pursue nursing in the book she has written entitled, Stand Naked in the Wind. Although a published author in several professional journals, this is her first novel: “It is the journey of a nurse, both professional and personal,” she says.
Looking back on her career, Dr. Magnani attributes much of her success to her time at the University: “Adelphi was not just an education, it was an experience,” she says. “The University exposed me to things I wouldn’t have dreamed of. Adelphi, made many of those dreams come true.”
Today Dr. Magnani and her husband live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. They have two children and six grandchildren. In her free time, Dr. Magnani enjoys tennis, tai chi, and is currently writing her second novel.
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