Registered Nurse Pat Brand recently retired from the Cozad Community Health System after 44 years spent in the health care profession.
Pat was born in Gothenburg, NE, to Delmar and Alice Maaske. Her dad worked for Monroe Automotive and her mom was a nurse’s aide at Cozad Community Hospital.
She graduated from Cozad High School in 1968. Pat worked as a Candy Striper at the hospital during her high school years, with her specialty being sitting with families who needed extra care.
Pat attended Bishop Clarkson Nursing School in Omaha and received her RN degree in 1971.
Upon graduation she returned to Cozad to work at the hospital alongside her mother, Alice Maaske.
“I was so proud of her and wished that I would have taken all of the training that she did,” said her mom. “I remember being a little nervous that our relationship would change and that with her education she would be my boss,” continued Maaske.
“But nothing changed and we worked side by side as we cared for our patients. It was gratifying to sit down with each other at the end of the day to share experiences,” and these times together were truly special for both of us,” said Maaske.
Pat moved briefly to Brighton, Colorado, and soon started to work at the community hospital there.
Her father, Delmar Maaske quipped, “You just smell openings in hospital wherever you go.”
She then returned to Nebraska and worked in the surgery department at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, NE for two years.
Pat always seemed to return to Cozad and worked on the floor at the Cozad Community Hospital from 1974 - 1990. For ten of those years she served as the Patient Care Coordinator.
Pat met Terry Brand, a building superintendent at Paulsen Inc. during this time period and they were married in 1982. Their children include Jason, Cozad; Amanda Snyder, Lincoln and Nicholas, Yutan.
Her career included working with Cindy Schneider at Home Health in Cozad. The two had previously worked together as Candy Stripers, and their camaraderie led to them to realize that there was a need for hospice in the community and area.
Schneider and Brand wrote and submitted proposed policies to the State of Nebraska, and they were approved.
When the Home Health Agency was downsized, Pat then worked for the State of Nebraska as a Surveyor of Home Health and Hospice agencies for six years.
She traveled to the western 2/3 of Nebraska and surveyed home health, hospice and outpatient dialysis. At times colleague Jade Mooberry accompanied her from Lexington, NE.
Although Pat enjoyed these years, she became weary of the traveling time and relied on audio books to make the long drives more bearable.
When Cozad Community Hospital’s head nurse, Tammy McMichael called her in 2006 to ask her if she would return to the hospital to serve as Quality Infection Control & Employee Health Director, Brand quickly accepted.
She remained at this position until this year, and at age 65 decided to retire.
Bri (Butler)) Snider, also a graduate of Cozad High School was mentored by Pat to take over her position. “Bri is a perfect fit to direct this department, and it was good to know that such a qualified person took over my job,” said Pat.
“My husband, Terry and I plan to do some traveling to Arizona and other places once he retires,” shared Brand. I also look forward to spending even more time following my grandchildren’s activities,” she added.
The Brands have ten grandchildren including Jason’s three children, Samantha, Katelyn and Dylan; Amanda and Justin Snyder’s four children, Taytum Dickman, Cynch Dickman, Aubry Dickman and Raygen Snyder and Nicholas and wife Lisa’s three children, Hudson, Amelia and Claire Alice.
The Brands are avid campers. “We have fond memories of camping with Bob and Julie McNett every year on Memorial Day weekend and over the Fourth of July.”
Pat’s favorite hobby is making all kinds of crafts, and she is presently serving on the Aesthetics Committee at American Lutheran Church to select the décor for the new ministry wing.
The Brands are active members of American Lutheran where they have put in stints as youth sponsors and a few years ago made new Chrismons for the sanctuary’s Christmas tree.
When asked what the biggest changes she has witnessed in health care over her tenure, Pat noted that the nursing profession has experienced such growth over the years.
“I was at Clarkson when the beginning phases of intensive care units started,” she said.
“Nurses also started hooking up IVs about that time instead of doctors, and now doctors rarely if ever do these.”
“Medicare was just starting when I graduated from college, and now it pretty much controls hospital care,” she continued.
Pat was honored by being inducted into the Cozad Healthcare Hall of Fame on October 3, 2015.
“Commitment, dedication and loyalty” The Pat Brand Legacy” were the closing words from CCHS Administrator Lyle Davis as he presented her with the award.
Her mother, Alice, was inducted into the hall of fame in 2007, and they are the first mother and daughter to receive this deserved distinction.
“I have enjoyed many rewards serving in the health care profession, but working with my mom for those years was my greatest reward,” according to Pat.