Theresa Dobbin, RN, WCC, CCRN
Critical Care Nurse, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway
Hometown: Clark

Theresa Dobbin has been a nurse for more than 30 years. She was born at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Rahway, where she now works, and as a 5-year-old, was treated for pneumonia.

“I wanted to be a nurse from then on,” she says.

Dobbin says that she’s seen so much support from the community throughout the coronavirus crisis.

“Everyone keeps calling us heroes,” she says. “In my eyes, this is doing my job.”

And although she misses having her big Sunday dinners with her family, she’s made some incredible connections with strangers during the crisis, including a woman she saw standing alone in the hospital parking lot.

“One evening, after a long day, I was walking out of work. As I was heading to my car in the parking lot, I noticed a young woman standing still, silently staring up at the hospital. I asked if I could help. I found out that her dad was in the hospital as a patient and she was not able to visit with him.”

When the woman told Dobbin her father’s room number, Dobbin told her she was in the wrong place and directed her to the other side of the building.

The next day, she reached out to staff to tell them about the woman standing vigil outside the hospital and asked them to put a sign in the window so the woman would know where her father was.

“Within five minutes, a friend of mine and fellow nurse responded. ‘I’m here,’ she says. ‘I’m going to do it right now.’ She taped a heart to the window and let the woman know. That was now many weeks ago. But just watching that woman look up at that hospital window made me realize that we are all in this together and that could be any one of us.”

Dobbin wants people to know that the place she goes to for work is so much more than a building.

“Over this pandemic, we have come together as a team to care for those affected with this horrible virus,” she says. “We have seen death, but we have also celebrated those that have survived. We have seen many new faces that have come to help us during this pandemic. Many are shocked when they hear how many years some of us have been here. But we are family. We are Rahway strong!”