By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
Kamalini Kumar was 10 or 11 when she first realized she wanted to be a nurse.
Growing up in Bangalore, India, Kamalini was the eldest of five children and often acted as baby sitter to her siblings.
One day, she read a story about Florence Nightingale and told her mother she wanted to be a nurse.
Kamalini, 67, of Clinton, said this caused some disagreement because her father thought she should be a doctor instead.
“I cared more about caring for people because that’s what I did as a child, cared for my siblings,” Kamalini said. “I am in awe of nursing and nurses.”
Kamalini has never regretted going into nursing and feels she has had a wonderful career so far. She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Madras University in India. She also has a master of arts in instructional design and technology and a Ph.D. in educational psychology. She is director of Clinical and Professional Development at Mercy Medical Center.
Most of Kamalini’s career has been spent teaching. Her only regret in her career is that she didn’t spend more time as a bed-side nurse. However, Kamalini said she has enjoyed working with other nurses.
“I nurse the nurse. I’m very interested in a nurse’s personal, professional and clinical development,” Kamalini said.
Kamalini met her husband, Surendra Kumar, when she was in Canada doing post-graduate work in the early 1970s. She moved to the United States in 1973 and they are both U.S. citizens. They have a son and daughter and are expecting their first grandchild.
Not long after coming to this country, she and her husband ended up in Clinton. At first, she was not sure if she would enjoy living here, but she said Clinton grows on a person. She said it was a great place to raise her children.
Between 1993 and 1999, she taught a medical career course at Clinton High School to seniors. She also has taught undergraduate programs. At Mercy, Kamalini is responsible for the education of the nurses and medical students. She is in charge of orientation programs, the nurse residency program and a 30-hour preceptor class. She also oversees all of the nursing research. Kamalini also travels as a presenter at national and international conferences.
“When I look at the nurses here at Mercy Hospital and see the total dedication and the care with which they look after our patients, they work in a very sacred place,” Kamalini said. “They are in a place where people trust them, trust their lives to them.”
In her free time, Kamalini enjoys traveling and is an avid reader. She enjoys watching PBS programming. She also is an active member of the Clinton Evangelical Free Church.