People in nursing at City of Hope deal every day with life and death — it is part of the job.
But it is especially difficult when it is the death of a colleague and friend, and when his death is so unexpected.
Fifteen years ago, Terry Pisenti began work at City of Hope as a night shift administrative house supervisor. Colleagues described him as a private person on first impression, but one who displayed pride in his ability to cover the house each night and see that patients were cared for and staff properly supported. And while taking care of house issues is serious business, Pisenti had a quick wit and appreciation for a practical joke, whether he was the instigator or the joke was on him.
Pisenti passed away in his sleep early on March 2.
And although his colleagues mourn his loss and feel the grief of losing a friend, they recognize how his goodness, sense of humor and sense of caring for nurses, patients and families made a difference in their lives and the world.
Jill K. McCormick, R.N., M.S.N., clinical director of medical oncology and nursing administration, described Pisenti as a dedicated, caring friend and colleague who was a true advocate for patients and their families.
“Terry often handled difficult admissions during the nights and weekends and always visited with patients to make sure they were doing all right,” she said. “He exemplified a compassionate standard-of-care and was a true champion for our patients.”
Larry R. Kidd, R.N., vice president of patient care services and chief nurse executive, remembered Pisenti as a big man with a gentle soul who always had the best interest of patients and staff at heart.
“Terry was a great guy and we will miss him deeply,” Kidd said. “What we can do in going forward to recognize Terry’s contribution is to always make sure we are doing the best for our patients and are constantly creating the best place for nurses and others to work at City of Hope.”
A memorial service was held in Pisenti’s honor at City of Hope on March 12. A plaque in his memory will be placed in the Rose Garden.
Pisenti’s family requests that those wanting to remember him send donations to City of Hope, c/o Jill K. McCormick, clinical director, Medical Oncology and Nursing Administration, 1500 E. Duarte Rd., Duarte, CA 91010.