Former nurses provide expertise

Former nurses provide expertise

Retired nurses encouraged to join the SAGE program

By Nacuya Lewis; Photo by Mindy Miller

After 41 years of serving others, Patricia Hickey, A.S.N., R.N., struggled to walk away from the profession she loved. Shortly after retiring, she learned of a new initiative being launched at UF Health Shands — the Shands Advisory and Guidance Expert, or SAGE, program.

“I was the very first applicant,” she said. “The learning experience here is second to none, and I was excited to come back and get involved with this hospital again.”


(From left) Betty Grisham, M.S.N., R.N., NE-BC; Patricia Hickey, A.S.N., R.N.; and Linda Morris, M.S.N., R.N., NE-BC, are SAGE program nurses.

Launched in 2006, the SAGE program recruits nurses with 15 or more years of experience who previously worked at UF Health Shands and are retired or not currently working. They are given the opportunity to offer their expertise to nursing units or assist in the growth of UF Health Shands Nursing and Patient Services in part-time positions.

From temporarily serving as a unit’s nurse manager to guiding rookie nurses during orientation, SAGE nurses hold different roles. They serve as mentors for incoming nurses and students and assist with patient teaching, staff interviews and training, project management and data collection and analysis.
“We developed the program to provide administrative support for our leadership teams, but it has evolved into our nurses stepping up to take on endeavors such as our stroke and chest pain programs,” said        Mary Beasley, B.S.N., R.N., NE-BC, UF Health Shands Hospital Nursing co-director  of magnet programs and special projects.

Betty Grisham, M.S.N., R.N., NE-BC, has been a nurse for 49 years and recently retired from UF Health Shands after 17 years. Following just six months of retirement, she returned as a SAGE nurse.
Grisham said, “The program is small, and a lot of current nurses constantly ask what SAGE stands for. I just tell them it’s a way of saying we’re spicy and seasoned!”