Nurse with UVA Health retiring after decades of helping others
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Paul Merrel has dedicated more than 50 years of his life to caring for others. Now, he is ready to retire from UVA Health.
Merrel has worked as a clinical nurse specialist for 52 years. During that time, he worked in different units, caring for a countless number of patients.
“The people are what’s kept me going,” Merrel said.
Falling in love with the medical field kind of fell in his lap: “I had dropped out of UVA to play in a band and I needed a day job,” Merrel said.
In 1971, his job search lead him to UVA Health.
“Didn’t take long to realize that it was a place with lots of things to learn, and to see kind of career opportunities,” Merrel said.
Most of his career was spent as a full-time worker and a part-time student, because there was always something to learn.
“I finished my associate’s degree first and then 10 years later, my bachelor’s degree, and finish my master’s degree 30 years ago,” Merrel said. “There have been lots of challenging times, including the last three years of COVID. Never a single day I’ve been bored or felt like I didn’t want to be there.”
Retirement means more free time, but Merrel says he still wants to help others.
“Whether it be a food bank, whether it be a free clinic, but I still want to be involved in helping to do things for people. And I’ll explore those opportunities,” he said.
Merrel says he plans to retire March 17.
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