Commencement Stories: Terry Bedard and a Dream No Longer Deferred

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Terry Bedard, director of Same Day Surgery and Endoscopy at Saratoga Hospital in Saratoga Springs, New York, is passionate about learning. It’s in her DNA, part of the culture of her hospital, and a trait she tries to instill in each of her 65 employees. She believes in leading by example, and why the grandmother of seven went back to school and will graduate with a master of science in nursing from Excelsior College this year.

Of course, while Bedard is living out her dream, it was a “dream deferred.”

“I always knew this is what I wanted to be, what I was meant to be” says Bedard. “I tried to enroll in nursing school after high school, but was rejected. So I got married, had children and in my 30’s said ‘I’m going to do this.”

Bedard headed back to nursing school, before continuing on for her bachelor’s and, finally, graduate degree via distance learning.

“It just gives you the flexibility to learn when you want, where you want at the time that you want,” says Bedard on the online model. “I was able to achieve my goals and finish my degree part-time, whether I was on vacation, whether I was home, whether I was at work. I could get online and talk to my teammates. It gives you that flexibility.”

That’s not to say there weren’t challenges along the way.

“For anyone my age, juggling (school, family and works) is challenging.” says Bedard. “(My job) isn’t a 9-5 job by any means….and I have grandchildren and children.”

Her family though, helped her overcome.

“My husband, my family, my friends are my biggest support system…there are times you think ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and they are cheering  “you are almost there,” says Bedard, who also credited her fellow co-workers and mentors at the hospital for her success.
Her hardwork and dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed either as she’s proved an inspiration to not only her employees, but her family.

“My daughter is now a nurse, back in school, she is following in my footsteps. My step daughter just went back to school to be a nurse. I try to lead by example and motivate others. For my 65 employees, I try to motivate them, share my learning with them…inspire others to follow their dreams, pursue them, even if they are deferred.”

Her own dreams no longer deferred, Bedard will walk across stage this summer, degree in hand. Her husband, sisters, daughters, sons and grandchildren will be there to support her, just as they have along the way.

Name: Terry Bedard
Position: Director of Same Day Surgery and Endoscopy, Saratoga Hospital
Hometown: Waterford, NY