September’s Featured Member: Lucinda Cave

Lucinda is a small town Iowa girl who came to Cleveland and never left.  I met Lucinda after a CEAC meeting a few months ago. She responded to my search for a member to pen a healthy nurse blog series, so we sat on the couch in ONA’s lobby to discuss what that series would look like. I noticed how kind Lucinda seemed. You know that sparkle some people have in their eyes? Lucinda has that, and good energy just radiates from her. Her smile is friendly, a bit shy, but also contagious. Meet ONA’s September featured member, Lucinda Cave!

M: Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you grow up?

L: I grew up in a small town in Iowa and came to Cleveland to go to Case Western Reserve University. I’ve been in Cleveland ever since!


M: When did you graduate nursing school?

L: I graduated from Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing with my bachelor’s in 1978 and with my master’s in 1984.


M: Why did you decide to become a nurse?

L: I cared about people! My mother was a nurse and a nursing instructor at a local college. I tell people that I’ve been in nursing school since I was 3 because she would drag me along if the babysitter didn’t show up! I always knew that it was a good career because of her, but I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted to be a nurse until I got to college.


M: Where was your first nursing job?

L: My first job was at University HospitalS – the same place I am now! I started in the thoracic and orthopedic surgery unit. It’s kind of a weird combo for a unit, but it worked.

From there, I became a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the general surgery and transplant surgery division.

Then I left nursing for 12 years and raised my kids. While I was doing that, I got my Ohio teaching certificate.

When my kids were in high school, a professional development position came open at UH and people started asking me if I’d be interested it because I had my master’s and now a teaching certificate. I decided to give a try and I’ve been here ever since! I am the Coordinator of Staff Development.


M: You’ve authored 2 blog posts now that focus on being a healthy nurse. Have you always been into health?

Yes, I’d say so. I’ve always been active and have always tried to eat the food that’s best for me. I always made sure my kids were active, too.

I came from a real health conscious family, too. We were always outside and being active. Plus, we had a lot of farms in Iowa, which meant a lot of farm fresh produce to eat.


M: Biking seems to be your exercise of choice. How often do you bike? How far? How did you get into bicycling?

L: I bike every day And as far as I have time for. On the weekends I can take a 20+mile ride. During the week, it’s just a 1.5 miles to work and home, so at least 3 miles per day. Sometimes on my way home I’ll do a 10 mile loop out of the way.

I have to keep an eye on the weather, though, and make sure I leave before storms hit or wait them out, but I do bike in all weather conditions – rain, snow, everything except lightning and ice!


I got into bicycling later in life because we had to give a car to my daughter.  She had a job that was about 50 miles away and she used to carpool with a coworker. One day she ended up in a ditch, so we decided to give her one of our cars instead of relying on the driving skills of her coworker.


My late husband was also a nurse, but was a critical care nurse in the cardiac cath lab who had an on a call schedule. It was imperative that he have a car. This left me with no car. But I had a bike! At that time, my work was 4 miles away and I wondered to myself if I could even bike that far. But I did, and I kept it up and fell in love!



M: What else do you do to be ‘healthy’? Which do you think it the hardest to do?

L: The hardest to do is avoid eating sweets! Well, the hardest thing isn’t necessarily avoiding them, but eating them in moderation. People need sweets, too!


To stay healthy, I also make sure I keep up with preventative medicine recommendations, such as physicals, mammograms, etc.


I’ve also been part of Havard’s Nurses Health Study for many years. I was one of the first pools of participants in the early 1980’s!

My next blog post will go over this in more detail, but essentially the study is sponsored by Harvard’s School of Public Health. They send out a detailed survey every year for us to complete which is now online. The study began as a way to look at the long-term effects of being on oral contraceptives. Because nurses are great at accurate reporting, they used us for this study.

Now they’ve expanded the study and include different areas. One year they studied nutrition, another year they studied medications. They’ve even studied our kids! I’m also part of a split study regarding Vitamin D and its relation to cancer, heart problems and other factors, and another one on memory. They’re interested in seeing whether I lose my mind or not! But really, I have to take these mental games and exams online. They’re looking for precursors to Alzheimer’s and dementia.


M: What piece of advice would you give a nurse who is trying to change unhealthy behaviors?

L:  Pick out something that you really like to do! What form of exercise do you really like? If it’s hiking, start off with doing that a few times a week. Cooking? Begin with looking up healthier recipes. If something is bothering you physically, get that taken care of so you’re more comfortable day to day.

Healthy behaviors become addictive because after awhile, you see the rewards and you’ll start wanting to do it more and more.

Make healthy behaviors works for you with behaviors you enjoy doing anyway.


M: And finally, why did you become an ONA member?

L: I had become a member of ONA right when I got out of nursing school. I realized it was beneficial to nursing as a profession to join our professional association. There’s greater strength in numbers! And my membership supported the development of the profession.

My mother-in-law was also an active member of the Greater Cleveland Nurses Association district of ONA. I connected with ONA’s CE Director Zandra Ohri after landing my professional development position. Zandra Ohri spoke at nurse planner programs, and talked about becoming being active with ONA’s Continuing Education Approver Council.  I was interested, so I joined the CEAC and have been active with the group ever since!