This Black History Month SC101 is celebrating leaders within the sickle cell community who have become vital voices for the progression of sickle cell. This leads us to adult sickle cell nurse advocate Pat L. Corley, RN. When you think of Pat Corley, think of the nurse you’d want by your bedside in hospital. That’s her. Fighting for the best care possible for sickle cell patients.
“As a sickle cell nurse and advocate I have always felt my role was to empower the sickle cell community by giving them an audible voice, a say in their care, and a seat at the table.
As with many young nurses who are trying to find their place in the nursing profession, I began my career searching for what that looked like… Self satisfaction, good pay and a job with purpose that I would enjoy. After volunteering at a sickle cell camp in California, I stumbled into what became a significant opportunity to transition into becoming the sickle cell nurse coordinator for one of 10 newly funded NIH Sickle Cell Centers. Knowing nothing about sickle cell disease I struggled but trudged forward and learned from patients, their families and other health care professionals who had gone before me. My transition as a young nurse was in essence, a statement and confirmation of my personal desire and values to use my skills and talents to serve under-served, low-income persons of color – my community.
SCD gave me a purpose but more importantly it gave me a skill set and taught me how to fight for others less privileged than myself. It taught me the true meaning of advocacy, it inspired me, it angered me, it equipped me, it empowered me and made me a better nurse and person.
I may have retired from nursing in 2015, I can never retire from sickle cell. I am still very much fighting for sickle cell on an advocacy front, hoping to better care for sickle cell patients from a policy level. My current mission centers around addressing challenges and realizing possibilities.
Special thanks to Sickle Cell 101 for your recognizing and endorsing me as an advocate. I do not take this honor lightly.”