Claire Caruso, ‘69
Claire Caruso,’69, was recently inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, one of the highest honors a nurse can receive. With an interest in the study of health and disease combined with a love for helping others, she knew that her career path would be in nursing from the time she was in high school.
Following College Ambitions
Caruso chose the College of Mount St. Joseph because of its excellent reputation in the nursing field. While teaching her the skills necessary to become a successful nurse, the Mount instilled in her the value of public service, a lesson which she believes has stuck with her throughout her career.
After completing her degree at the Mount, Caruso worked in a number of hospital settings in Boston and Cincinnati, and completed her master’s degree in nursing at the University of Cincinnati. While working as a clinical nurse specialist, she was awarded a National Institutes of Health grant.
This prompted her to enroll at the University of Michigan to earn her Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing. Her program of study focused on the health and safety risks linked to shift work and long work hours and sleep.
A Career Dedicated to Helping Others
After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1999, Caruso began her government scientist position at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). She focused on shift work and long work hour issues, helping workers understand how to better organize their work schedules so that they can get enough sleep.
“Most people have trouble working nights and irregular hours because we are not nocturnal animals by nature,” says Caruso. “I have personally worked at night and on rotating shifts and have developed an appreciation for helping others with the challenges and dangers they face. Night shift workers are at risk for vehicle crashes which endanger themselves as well as other people on the roads.”
Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle
Caruso resides in the Cincinnati area and enjoys visiting her relatives and friends, reading, gardening, and hiking. In order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, Caruso says that she balances work and her personal life by making sure she gets a good night’s sleep.
She says, “Evidence is mounting that getting enough sleep is just as important for our health and well-being as a good diet and exercise.”
Lasting Commitment to the Field
While staying focused on her work to improve public health and spread the knowledge about the necessity of sleep for life and health, Caruso is bringing her expertise in work schedule issues to the American Academy of Nursing. She is working with the Academy to promote better workplace strategies to protect people who work around the clock, providing critical services for society in public safety, healthcare, utilities, transportation, and manufacturing industries.
Additionally, Caruso is co-chair of a Nurse Fatigue Professional Issues Panel for the American Nurses Association where she shares her insights on schedules and sleep deprivation.
Photo: Caruso (Center)