For Cecilia Teitell, giving back is second nature. Her experience working in the health care field led her to volunteer at RUSH University Medical Center and to leave a bequest to RUSH.
Cecilia spent 13 years caring for patients as a registered nurse — three in critical care and 10 in emergency. She recalls that her first years working as a nurse were challenging.
“It’s difficult for a health care professional coming out of school to be proficient at everything,” she said. “There’s a major learning curve.”
But she eventually got the hang of it.
“You get more comfortable assessing patients,” she noted. “I learned that it’s sometimes the quiet patients who you need to worry about the most.”
After more than a decade working in nursing, Cecilia began to feel burnt out.
“It can be hard to compartmentalize what you see while working as a nurse,” she said. “Some people are good at it. But for others, like me, you sometimes need to walk away from it.”
Cecilia went on to pursue a new field but still with a health care focus. After earning her master’s degree in jurisprudence and health law, she served as director of risk management and claims for Mount Sinai Health System and subsequently as a legal nurse consultant for a premier litigation firm.
Lending a helping hand
After running into an old friend, Cecilia found her way back into nursing.
“Nursing is like a sisterhood and a brotherhood,” she said. “I always wanted to volunteer in a health care setting, but I was never in the position to do so. I was always working. Once I retired, I decided it was the perfect time to give it a try.”
Cecilia has been volunteering at RUSH University Medical Center since 2018. RUSH’s expertise and commitment to providing all patients with the highest quality care inspired her to continue volunteering, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a volunteer in the emergency department, Cecilia is often one of the first faces patients see. Once a week, she greets patients as they come into the emergency department. She helps move them into triage or rooms as beds open up, while using her past experience to provide extra comfort.
“You never know who’s going to come through the door,” she said. “It can range from a patient needing a wheelchair to someone who needs an ice pack or urine sample. Although I don’t have the same level of responsibility as I did when I was a nurse, I still get to be part of the action. I’m able to be the conduit who helps facilitate a pleasant beginning, which sets the tone for a positive patient experience.”
Creating a lasting legacy
Cecilia’s passion for giving back extends beyond the sweat equity she offers through her volunteer work — it can also be seen in the generous bequest intention she made to RUSH in 2021.
With her unrestricted gift, Cecilia will be able to make an impact on RUSH’s future, while ensuring the availability of assets to her during her lifetime.
Planned gifts of all sizes and designations from grateful patients, alumni, faculty, staff and more enable RUSH to fulfill its mission to provide the highest quality patient care, research, education and community outreach. As the field of health care evolves, deferred gifts help secure RUSH’s future and ensure that valuable resources will be there when they are needed most.
In appreciation of her gift, Cecilia is also recognized as a member of the RUSH Heritage Society.
“I know how important access to health care is,” she said. “RUSH treats a diverse patient population, and I hope the funds from my bequest will be used to benefit whatever area requires support — whether for research or to help buffer costs so everyone can access the highest quality care. I trust RUSH to make the right decision.”
“Giving back is so important to me. It gives my life some purpose. In a small way, if I can make a difference, that would be good. I feel blessed to be able to do this.”
To learn more about gift planning or to discuss options that might be right for you, please contact Susan Sasvari, senior director of gift planning, at (312) 942-3691 or firstname.lastname@example.org.