The VOICE of UPMC Shadyside Winter 2019–2020

In Their Own Words: Nathaniel Young

Patients and their impressions of UPMC Shadyside

Nathaniel Young, 90, loves talking with peopleso when he was hospitalized in UPMC Shadyside recently for a pacemaker, he especially appreciated the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP). With HELP, college-age volunteers visit and talk with older patients to help them stay alert and engaged.

“They do a beautiful job,” Mr. Young says.

“And,” adds his daughter, Pam Young-Gobble, “the volunteers love talking with him.”

No wonder. Mr. Young is full of stories from an inspiring life of serviceto his family, his country, his church, and to countless people of all ages who have turned to him for counsel over the years. He is a warm, empathetic listener with sage advice to impart. One of his favorite maxims is what he calls the five P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

After serving in the Army in Korea, Mr. Young married his Westinghouse High School sweetheart and went to work as a nursing assistant for the VA Pittsburgh healthcare system. He earned his psychology degree and went on to counsel former servicemen and women as well as work as an Equal Employment Opportunity officer. In addition to their own two children, he and his wife took in and raised seven other young people. Mr. Young is also a deacon in his church, Sixth Mount Zion Baptist, where he taught Sunday School to teenagers for many years.

“The people taking care of me have been beautiful. They are so dedicated and committed to what they do.”
- Nathaniel Young

“And I worked with the Boy Scouts for 50 years. I loved itespecially the camping trips,” he says. “The wilderness is such a beautiful, quiet place.”

“He has earned the highest awards in scouting,” his daughter says proudly.

Although these days he has to go three times a week for dialysis, “even that has become like a ministry to me. A group of us all have the same schedule.”

As Mr. Young says, “I have been lucky in my life to always have a mentor who helped me make the best use of my abilities. I want to take any opportunity to pass on some of the good things that have been done for me.

“When you can change lives, that changes you, too. It improves you as you learn about people.

“I’m no stranger to UPMC Shadyside,” he says. “I’ve been an inpatient several times. The people taking care of me have been beautiful. They are so dedicated and committed to what they do. It was almost like they were anointed or handpicked. I’ve been very impressed.”