2008-08-01 / Community

Zipaganis Retires From PHC After 38 Years

Pictured, Left to right: Robert V. Levine, President and Chief Executive Officer, Melanie Zipagan, RN and Robin Blackwell, RN, Vice President Nursing, Chief Nurse Executive Pictured, Left to right: Robert V. Levine, President and Chief Executive Officer, Melanie Zipagan, RN and Robin Blackwell, RN, Vice President Nursing, Chief Nurse Executive After 38 years serving as a critical care nurse at Peninsula Hospital Center, Melanie Zipagan is retiring from her position as the Clinical Assistant Director of the Hospital Center's Telemetry Unit.

Nurse Zipagan began her long and illustrious career at Peninsula Hospital Center in 1971 as a staff nurse in the Coronary Care Unit. It wasn't long after that that she was recognized for her superior nursing skills and her ability to teach, guide and direct other nurses and was promoted to Graduated Care Unit (now known as Telemetry) where she was named the Assistant Head Nurse and eventually, Head Nurse, ,and has ably continued to serve in this department for the past 25 years.

Not surprisingly, Melanie opted out of the big "retirement" gala that her friends, co-workers and administrators wanted to plan for her. She is far too emotional about the departure and celebrated quietly with her fellow coworkers on the Telemetry Unit who honored her this past weekend. They presented her with a beautiful plaque, commemorating their heartfelt feelings. "It is with great sadness that we must see you go," was the first line of the plaque's inscription which went on to say "Working with you was an enriching experience, one we will remember for many years. You gathered us near and taught us so much, from a simple smile to a gentle touch. Your constant guidance and direction was an asset to our unit. We salute your commitment as a leader and nurse. May your future bring you the greatest comfort, ease and peace of mind, for you are truly a blessing."

Zipagan certainly made her mark on Peninsula Hospital Center, officials say. Although she rose in the ranks to the position of an assistant director, Melanie never left bedside nursing so she could be there for her patients, and fellow nurses alike, leading the unit with caring, compassion and professionalism.

Robin Blackwell, RN, Vice President of Nursing, Chief Nurse Executive at PHC, praised Melanie by saying, "Melanie has left her mark on the cardiac services of Peninsula Hospital Center which will remain long after she has gone. Her dedicated service will be evident in the compassion, understanding and knowledgeable staff she has entrusted to us. I wish her all the best."

Zipagan is moving forward with a new chapter in her life. After nearly four decades of nursing, she is looking forward to spending much more time with her family. First off, officials say, she plans a well- deserved vacation with her husband, Raymond, an engineer. Her plans also include sharing more time with the prides of her life, her two daughters - Rachel, an engineer, who followed in her father's footsteps and Jillian, a Nurse Practitioner, who has emulated Melanie. Melanie is also anxiously awaiting the birth of Jillian's child, with whom she plans on spending many, many glorious days as first time grandmother

However, Zipagan is not closing the door entirely on her nursing stint at the Hospital Center, as she plans to return - when her timing is right - when she is called occasionally for a shift or two. In the words of her fellow nurses, Melanie Zipagan's "expertise is tremendous, her professionalism true and her dedication and leadership are immeasurable and incomparable. She will be truly missed."

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