A gift to us all

Patsy Getz received the NAA Award of Honor in 2002.

Patsy Getz received the NAA Award of
Honor in 2002.

The nursing profession lost a beloved colleague when Patsy Atwater Getz 52N 54N 58MN died of metastatic cancer on September 18, 2009. Those who knew Getz—whether for 50 years or five minutes—would agree that her enthusiasm for nursing and life was contagious.

Born in Macon, Georgia, Getz completed her nursing degrees at Emory, where she worked continuously, even after retirement. After completing her education, she joined the nursing faculty as an instructor in the adult health program. Getz taught for several years before turning to full-time clinical practice in orthopaedics, rheumatology, and rehabilitation medicine. One of the first nurses in the Center for Rehabilitation Medicine, Getz took a special interest in stroke patients. After retiring in 1997, she returned to Emory as a volunteer research project coordinator with the Center for Health in Aging at Wesley Woods.

Throughout her career, Getz’s commitment to patients, coupled with her quick smile and gentle voice, touched everyone from students and colleagues to patients and their families.

“She was a wonderful role model, and I will continue to strive to be the kind of nurse that Patsy was,” writes a member of the Georgia Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, which Getz founded. “Patsy was a gift to all of us.” 

For her accomplishments, Getz received several honors, including the 1996 Educator Award from the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses and the 2002 Award of Honor from the Nurses’ Alumni Association, which she led from 1998 to 1999. 

In 2002, Getz moved to Clairmont Place, a senior community near Emory. Thus Getz became a member of the “Guardian Nightingales,” a spirited group of nursing faculty and alumni who gather for dinner each Monday night.

“Patsy was a loving person,” says Betty Daniels 51N 67MN, who moved in the same year as Getz. “She would do anything for her patients. She looked in on many of the people at Clairmont Place. She was always willing to help. And she loved the School of Nursing.”—Pam Auchmutey

Memorial gifts honoring Getz may be sent to the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, Development and Alumni Relations, 1520 Clifton Road N.E., Atlanta, Georgia 30322.

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