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Subaru Stories: What the Night Shift and Bruce Springsteen Have In Common

Photo credit: John Carlano

Subaru owners are fanatically loyal adventurers–signaling each other with a peace sign salute as they pass and referring to their cars as ‘Subies.’ Subaru Stories follows the journey behind 10 Philadelphian health professionals connected by a common thread: Their car. Where it takes them after work? That seems to be very different…

Ever drive past someone on the highway and wonder what they’re listening to on the radio? What about a person on the street? Your doctor? A nurse? If you met a quiet RN who works in a neonatal intensive care unit you probably wouldn’t guess she’s turning up the E Street Radio every morning she drives home from a 12-hour night shift.

But that’s exactly what Patricia Sweeney does as she heads home, and the sun comes up after her shift. As an RN staff nurse/charge nurse, she’s been working 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for the last 33 years. After a night of high-risk deliveries, updating parents on their baby’s care, and caring for premature and full-term infants, Sweeney and Bruce take the highway home for some much-needed shuteye in her 2003 Subaru Outback.

It takes more than dedication to do what Sweeney does on a daily basis, it takes a passion for helping the tiniest and most fragile find their strength. That passion is what drove her to begin her career early and never look back.

“I worked for a cardiologist in high school and really enjoyed it,” says Sweeney. “I mostly did office work but I did get to interact with patients–I was very shy and having that job helped me open up and feel comfortable talking to perfect strangers, a skill that continued to help me in my nursing career to this day!”

Sweeney still trusts her now 14-year-old Subaru to get her to work at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery every night through rain and snow, and home again in the morning.

“I have a stressful job and I need a reliable car–one I don’t have to worry about when I am commuting to and from work, sitting in that driver’s seat for the 45-minute trip each way,” she says. “That time is a respite and renewal time for me–my Subaru is home!”

So, while her passion may be to help her patients every night at the hospital, she’s still able to be home in time for her first priority: Her family.

Her two children are her favorite co-pilots but have since moved on to college. Her son went to LaSalle and her daughter just finished her last year of nursing school at Penn State. They both learned to drive with the trusty Outback, she says, but now they take her out for drives.

Their favorite past time? Concert-going and beach traveling.

Now that our children are out of college, we want to restart our family vacations,” says Sweeney. “I would love to return to the Outer Banks or Florida in my Subaru.”

Subaru supports and thanks the entire medical community in the Greater Philadelphia area. For more information about finding the right ride for you, click here.