Early in the pandemic, Bob Quaile wanted to help, so he started making face shields for frontline medical workers. He knew plenty of people to give them to.

Quaile, who is one of 11 siblings, has a big family, and it’s a medical family. Of the 94 or so relatives who typically attend their annual Christmas gathering, about 15 are nurses or in other health-care professions.

Quaile’s daughter is a nurse. So are nieces, a cousin, his wife’s cousin. The list goes on and on.

Yes, when they gather at family parties, the medical profession is often discussed, especially among the nurses. Here are just a few of the family members who understand the risks of the job but continue the all-out dedication that marks their profession.

The daughter

Tricia DelBorrello is Quaile’s daughter. She is a labor and delivery nurse for Inspira Medical Center in Vineland, N.J. As it is for her other siblings, what she does for a living is more than a job.

“I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” she said. “I love it.”

She has a simple theory on why there are so many medical workers in the family.

“As a whole, when we grew up, we were taught — and raised — to help other people. It has been ingrained in us,” said DelBorrello, who is one of five children and has four children herself.

With COVID-19, the job has become more hazardous as medical workers try to stay safe while saving the sick.

Tricia DelBorrello, a nurse, shown here at in front of her father's home in New Jersey, July 2, 2020. Many people in her family are in the health-care profession.
JESSICA GRIFFIN / Staff Photographer
Tricia DelBorrello, a nurse, shown here at in front of her father's home in New Jersey, July 2, 2020. Many people in her family are in the health-care profession.

“It’s scary,” she said. “We have the protective equipment, but it can be nerve-racking.”

As much as she and her health-care relatives enjoy what they do for a living, she acknowledges that their shoptalk can get on the nerves of other family members “if we go on too much about it,” she said, laughing. “Some things we describe, people say are gross, but as long as we keep it to a minimum, it’s OK.”

Many of those same people (as well as friends) often ask for medical advice.

“We have different specialties, which is good,” she said. “If I get a question, I’m really happy to help out.”

But she always ends her advice with the same directive: “Follow up with a call to your doctor.”

Kelley Farrell and her mother, Trish, both work at Lankenau Medical Center
Courtesy Trish Farrell
Kelley Farrell and her mother, Trish, both work at Lankenau Medical Center

Mother and daughter duo

Trisha Farrell, a cousin of Bob Quaile’s, is the radiology supervisor at Lankenau Medical Center in Wynnewood. Her daughter Kelley is a CT scan technician at the same facility.

“My mom influenced me growing up,” said Kelley. “She takes a lot of pride in her work.”

Her mother was slightly apprehensive when Kelley said she wanted to join the same profession.

“I was a little nervous,” Farrell said. “It can be difficult working in an emergency room. You see things — some are hard to handle mentally; it’s hard to see what people go through. As a parent I wasn’t sure about her experiencing the heartache. But this is what she wanted to do, and I am proud of her.”

Thanks to the work they have in common, they often talk shop.

“We have some crazy funny stories to trade,” Kelley said. “It’s very rewarding — especially when you’ve had a bad day, and with COVID-19, it’s a little stressful. She can relate.”

It wasn’t only her mom who inspired her to enter a helping profession, said Kelley.

“Growing up, there were cousins you looked up to and wanted to follow in their footsteps,” Kelley said.

Helping at a young age

Kelli Badey, one of Quaile’s nieces, wanted to be a nurse from an early age.

“When I was younger, my pop-pop had diabetes and I always wanted to prick his finger for his glucose tests, or give him his insulin,” said Badey, a registered nurse who has worked for six years at Virtua Voorhees Hospital, in Voorhees. “Being only 9, of course, they would never let me — but it was always worth a try!”

No wonder she became a nurse.

“They say if you love what you do you will never work a day in your life,” she said. “Nursing is one of those professions that is rewarding but so difficult. You are literally there for people in their highest of highs and lowest of lows. You are not only supporting the patient but sometimes also their family.”

It comes down to kin

Nicole Ansert, a cousin of Quaile’s wife, Marianne, is an ICU nurse at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. Her career choice was inspired by her late grandmother, Mary Troilo, who was a nurse, too.

“I wanted to be like her. She was such a warm, welcoming individual, her door was never closed to anybody,” said Ansert. “She was always happy to help if you needed something — just a wonderful person.”

Casey Francis, another niece of Quaile’s, works in the ICU at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and said her family — a group of “really awesome people” — definitely influenced her decision to enter the health-care profession.

“They raised us to be selfless and to always consider others,” she said. “I think they instilled that caring quality into my whole family. Everybody is always looking out for each other. When you call your family, they will always be there for you. That has been such an important message my whole life.”