Clarice Yenor (’73 BS Nursing) helps coordinate care for employees who are world-famous characters and the “special people whose job it is to create magic and spread happiness for all the guests coming to Walt Disney World.”
“I never thought I’d be working for Mickey Mouse,” says Yenor, with a laugh. A nurse with 40 years experience, she is manager of Policy and Performance within the Health Services Department of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, based at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
Yenor, who grew up in Milwaukee, became interested in nursing when she was 5 years old and accompanied her dad to the factory where he worked. “Aunt Laura,” the industrial nurse there, was a great health counselor and friend to the employees, Yenor recalls. “She was my inspiration and planted the seed for the work I do now.”
After graduating from UWM, Yenor worked at St. Luke’s Hospital, eventually become a patient care manager in the Oncology Department. When a downsizing at the hospital forced a career change, she was offered a job opportunity at Allen-Bradley’s Medical Department, which brought her full circle back to her childhood dream of nursing at the worksite in an industrial setting.
Her family’s move to Florida offered additional growth and work experience in worker’s compensation, disability case management and, eventually, a chance to work at Walt Disney in 1995. In 2004, she became the clinical nurse manager in the on-site occupational health clinic.
In her current role, she supports and helps oversee health and occupational care of cast members, as park employees are called, from all over the world at the approximately 47-square-mile entertainment destination. Walt Disney World has the distinct designation of being the largest single-site employer in the U.S., says Yenor, with more than 65,000 “cast members.”
“Our Disney nurses are pivotal in promoting and motivating our employees to improve their overall health,” she says. “While we take care of their occupational injuries or illnesses, we can also talk to them about health care concerns they are dealing with. For example, we may assist in referring them to our EAP [Employee Assistance Program] services, or to their personal physician for elevated blood pressure, blood sugar or cholesterol concerns.
“We recognize the value in helping them identify and support lifestyle changes that will promote better health and well-being beyond their work life. That is an exciting part of our nursing role.”
Yenor is currently serving as president of the Central Florida Association of Occupational Health Nurses, the local branch of the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses. “I strongly believe that a professional nurse needs to be aligned with her professional organization within her specialty. That fosters personal growth and commitment to the field of nursing and to that specialty.”
The other side of Health Services at Walt Disney World are the first aid stations in each of the six parks that treat vacationing guests myriad health complaints while they are visiting, Yenor says. The nurses are able to identify and treat minor ailments, or call emergency services if the condition is more serious. “Our nurses have been responsible for saving lives as well as saving well-earned vacations by offering help and treating the guest’s health situations.”
Yenor says the best part of her role at Walt Disney World is the daily experience of coming to work and walking around among castles, fairy-tale cottages, pirate ships and Mickey Mouse and friends.
“It’s the most magical place on earth to work.”
By Kathy Quirk