How does a family cope when three teenagers lose both their parents suddenly? Terrie Rando was a freshman at the University of Rhode Island; her sister Beth a senior in high school and their brother Tom a junior in high school when their mother died from complications after heart surgery. Their father died of cardiac arrest a year earlier. According to the two sisters, both of their parents had set a great example of working hard to succeed. Fortunately, that carried over when the state of Rhode Island could not decide on how to handle the situation. The sisters and brother took charge of their lives. In the early 70’s, orphan families were usually broken up and sent to live with relatives where possible. Terrie and Beth were not going to let that happen. In spite of the difficulties, they managed to stay together in the family home in North Scituate and ultimately excelled. Here is the rest of the story.
Mary Elizabeth (Beth) (Rando) Mancini, RN, PhD, NE-BC, FAHA, ANEF, FAAN is one of the 2015 recipients of the Distinguished Achievement Awards from the University of Rhode Island. She was nominated from the College of Nursing by Interim Dean, Mary Sullivan.
Her sister Dr. Therese (Terrie) A. Rando, BA, MA, PhD, BCETS, BCBT received the same award in 2012 after being nominated by Dean Winnie Brownell from the College of Arts and Sciences. She is a clinical psychologist in Warwick, RI specializing in loss and grief, traumatic stress; and the psychological care of persons with chronic, life-threatening or terminal illness, and their loved ones.
Her brother, Thomas (Tom) Rando, CISSP is a CPA who works for Capital One as an Enterprise Architect focusing on application resiliency for data center and cloud platforms.
Dr. Beth Mancini earned an A.D.N from Rhode Island Jr. College (now C.C.R.I.) a B.S.N from Rhode Island College and a Masters in Nursing Administration from URI. Dr. Therese Rando earned her Undergraduate, Masters and Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island. That was unusual getting all of her degrees at a single University but came about because she wanted to keep in close contact with her brother and sister while they were finishing their education, and could only do so by remaining in Rhode Island at URI. Losing their parents at an early age was a certainly a determining factor in their choice of careers. It is obvious that Terrie and Beth instinctively hoped to have their parent’s deaths have meaning in their lives. Dr. Rando focused on the psychology of dealing with death, grief and mourning, while Dr. Mancini focused her nursing career originally on cardiac care and later on simulation in health care Beth feels, “that people who lose their parents at an early age tend to either flounder or become overachievers.” As the long list of capital letters after their names and extensive awards suggest there is no doubt what road they chose.
According to the UTA web site, “Dr. Beth Mancini is a Professor, Senior Associate Dean for Education Innovation and Chair for Undergraduate Nursing Programs at The University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She holds the Baylor Health Care System Professorship for Healthcare Research. Her research interests include innovative teaching strategies, collaboration between different professions, and the use of simulation to create high-performing health care teams. She previously was senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the American Heart Association, and the National League for Nursing’s Academy of Nursing Education. She also received a Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Texas, where she earned her Ph.D. in public and urban affairs. Dr. Mancini has more than 90 publications to her credit and is a sought after speaker at local, national and international conference on such topics as innovations in health professions education; simulation in health care; patient safety; teaching, retention and outcomes related to basic and advanced life support education; emergency and critical care nursing and the transformative redesign of education.”
Beth originally started in Pre-Med and switched to nursing when she decided, “one family member had to work while my husband David was getting his degrees.” Those degrees include a Masters of Music from the University of Cincinnati and a Masters of Philosophy as well as a PhD in Music Theory from Yale University. He now is Director, Division of Music and Associate Professor of Music Theory at Southern Methodist University. Beth says, “Our 42 year marriage works because, I am tone deaf and he hates blood and guts. We rarely talk about our work.” She never regrets her choice of nursing and credits the URI College of Nursing with “making me who I am.” Dr. Mancini has been involved in virtually all aspects of nursing throughout her career including direct bedside care, administration and now education. Her extensive work in the use of simulation in health professions education involves responsive mannequins that speak, breath and bleed as well as virtual simulations where patient environments and conditions are created on a computer. She is “trying to educate the next generation of nurses with this technology.” The concept is basically like a flight simulator: “Using simulation, this generation of nurses gets to see what happens when they make a mistake without harming a patient, learning from constant repetition how to deal with emergencies.” “Like pilots, nurses have to be very good at emergency procedures even though they are very infrequent.” While visiting URI in early October, Beth was very encouraged with the “wonderful growth of the University”. She expects even more growth in the College of Nursing because of the new campus in Providence and the combined simulation programs with Brown and Rhode Island College.
As stated earlier, Dr. Therese Rando earned all of her degrees from URI. She currently sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Sciences. She credits her mother with setting an example of what you can achieve if you work hard. “She was a woman well ahead of her time, serving as an officer in the Woman’s Army Corps in England on General Eisenhower’s staff during WW II.” Despite dying relatively young, she had a family and a career when that was very uncommon. Dr. Rando is a world renowned expert in the science of thanatology (the study of dying, death and grief). Having written over 85 works on the clinical aspects of thanatology, she has appeared on virtually all of the major television networks and provided commentary for almost every major newspaper in the country including: The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, New York Times and USA Today. She has published six books and is currently finishing a seventh Coping With the Sudden Death of Your Loved One: A Self-Help Handbook for Traumatic Bereavement. . She is often called as an expert witness and her awards are too numerous to mention. Terrie loves her practice and “can’t imagine not working,” According to her, “age is an asset in my field; you are considered erudite and wise”.
Her work on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Arts and Science enables her to give back to the University more than tuition payments: (One of Dr. Rando’s children graduated from URI in May and a second one is currently a senior.) She said – “I proudly declare that I have three degrees from URI” and received a “wonderful education”. “People in Rhode Island don’t appreciate what a fine University they have. It is much more highly regarded outside the state.” Dr. Rando is also extremely proud of her 2012 Distinguished Achievement Award from the University and “delighted that my sister received the same award”.
Their parents would be more than proud of their over-achieving children.