Stephanie Guerin Schoof

Stephanie Guerin Schoof

Stephanie “Stevie” Schoof, 69, has been a nurse for 48 years, a profession she was practically born into (surgeon father, nurse mother). Yet she keenly recalls there seemed few other professional options for women when she finished high school. Schoof said there were three choices: nurse, secretary or teacher.

“When I was growing up those were the only professions most women considered. So I entered the Charlotte Memorial Hospital School of Nursing Program in North Carolina, one of the best nursing programs available at the time and it was intensive…I graduated in 1966 and I’m still in nursing 48 years later!” she said.

Schoof was born at Mayo Hospital in Rochester, NY and grew up in Vero Beach. In 1967 she met and married Carl Schoof, a pharmaceutical representative. They moved to Jacksonville in 1968 and lived on Barnes Road in Lakewood. In 1970 they moved to St. Nicholas when Stevie was pregnant with daughter Aimee. The Schoofs celebrated 37 years of marriage before Carl’s death from cancer in 2004.

“I’ve lived in St. Nicholas 44 years and I love this little brick home with its tile roof. I always say ‘there’s no dishwasher, no microwave and no room for them.’ Everyone calls it the ‘Flintstone’s house’ because it still has the original 1930 wallpaper, tile, wiring and plumbing. I love old homes, old things, antiques…I like to recycle,” she said.

During her long nursing career Schoof worked in most of Jacksonville’s hospitals including the former Duval Medical Center, (now UF Health Medical Center/Shands Hospital), the old Riverside Hospital, St. Vincent’s and Baptist. When her daughters Aimee and Natalie got older, she switched to PRN (temporary/as needed) early shifts to be finished by the end of their school day. That enabled her to supervise homework, after-school activities and serve as home room mom.

“I’ve learned so much about life from nursing. When I first graduated from nursing school there was one head nurse with five or six nurses working under her. Each nurse was assigned to a specific patient from the time they were admitted until discharge. We bathed our patients, got them  hot water bottles, extra blankets, gave back rubs at night…we did everything for them which allowed us to really know that patient’s condition. We had a chance to build relationships,” she said. “Now I think what’s missing is those small caring human touches, warmth and connection…too many different people are caring for each patient.”

Positive changes in nursing include the availability of higher education for nurses and heightened emphasis on wellness education, prevention and fitness, Schoof said. She noted the abundance of free seminars, information, health testing and home-use equipment plus greater awareness of overall healthy living.

In 2000 Schoof and her husband took a hiatus from work after losing three close friends to cancer. They were so affected by the deaths they decided to pack their old jeep and travel the country while both were healthy.
“We bought National Park Passes and visited all the National Parks which was fantastic. We traveled the U.S., saw distant friends and family and entertained in our home whenever we felt like it,” she said. “I will always be thankful we took that time together, because within two years Carl, who was physically fit and a runner, was diagnosed with cancer. He died in 2004.”

Schoof returned to nursing to teach CPR for Baptist Health Hospitals, an option she chose in order to learn public speaking and overcome shyness. She also does contract work for BC/BS and Health Designs administering health tests for employees and teaching preventative health care. For fun Schoof, always an adventurer who says she feels positively young, explores the back country of Yosemite National Park.

“In 2012 my daughters and I hired a guide, rented gear and 35-pound backpacks, hiked and camped out in Yosemite Valley. I decided we should see El Capitan (3,593 foot sheer vertical granite wall), a mecca for rock climbers. We actually climbed its backside, the Half Dome (8,842 foot granite monolith) where there are heavy metal cables drilled into the rock to aid climbers. Calling and setting that trip up by phone from Florida was a little crazy…I didn’t fully realize what we were in for until we got there and my daughters were freaking out, but it was an incredible experience,” she said.

Along with volunteering for Habijax and through her church Southside United Methodist, she is part of a Suds Ministry. She and friends gather their quarters and visit a laundromat to pay for washers and dryers and chat with whoever is there.

“We usually find people in need of help and that’s an opportunity to hear their stories and try to do whatever we can for them,” she said.

Otherwise Schoof can be found gardening, exploring in her ocean kayak or tracking individual, named great white sharks with her phone app. Schoof invites friends for musical evenings in her home and was an early member involved with the formation of St. Nicholas Preservation.

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