Carrying on the family tradition of caring for the community


For Registered Nurse Jessica Patterson, caring for others isn’t just a passion, it’s a calling that has been passed down through generations. So when Patterson joined Alice Hyde’s dialysis clinic care team at the age of 19, the reason was simple: it was her way into health care.

Working in health care is a passion some discover through school, volunteerism or simple trial-and-error. Patterson’s path to Alice Hyde, on the other hand, was laid down long ago. It began with her grandmother, Rita Stone, who joined the hospital in 1974 as a Licensed Practical Nurse and retired as a Charge Nurse providing overnight supervision on Alice Hyde’s medical floor. In 2001, Jessica’s father, Registered Nurse Michael Stone, joined Alice Hyde and worked as a float before becoming a permanent member of the hospital’s Operating Room care team.

“It’s just in my blood. It’s something I always had a passion for,” said Patterson of why she first joined the hospital as a patient care tech — a role similar to a nurse’s aide.

As a patient care tech, it didn’t take Jessica long to realize that she wanted to do more — so she enrolled in North Country Community College’s one-year LPN certification program, after which she returned to Alice Hyde and served as a care team member on the hospital’s Medical-Surgical Floor, and long-term-care facility, The Alice Center. Despite taking on full-time patient care work, Jessica continued her education, earning her certification as a Registered Nurse several years later and going on to work both at Alice Hyde and providing in-home hospice care before ultimately returning to the hospital as a member of Alice Hyde’s Quality team — a position she says sparks pride for her.

“This hospital has been in my family for many years – that’s why there’s such pride in me, and it’s so important for me to be able to support that quality work,” said Jessica.

As part of her current position, Jessica is pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Nursing – a degree that will add to her clinical and administrative skill set, but has come with a variety of challenges: chief among them how to balance work, school, and the demands of raising a family.

So when, on a whim, Jessica applied for Alice Hyde’s Workforce Development Program and was awarded a $1,300 grant for nursing education that would help pay for tuition and books, she was thrilled. The Chamberlain College of Nursing program in which Jessica is enrolled is a demanding course that includes classroom work and projects that directly benefit a student’s community. The grant enabled Jessica to take an extra class and finish her degree eight weeks early – not only saving her the cost of paying for another full semester of college, but enabling her to be there for one of the most important days of her daughter’s life.

“I can’t tell you how important that extra help was; the impact it made,” she said. “Finishing my degree eight weeks early means I don’t have to do schoolwork through my daughter’s wedding.”

Amid a year of health challenges for her family, Jessica said the grant also helped her fulfill a promise she made to her grandmother, Rita, who passed away last July.

“We were just talking about how hard it is to balance everything, with the wedding and work and school, and she told me: ‘You need to do it. You need to find a way’,” said Jessica. “I said I would, and that was the last promise I made to her; that I would finish what I started. It’s been a very difficult year, and [the grant] was a much-needed positive.”