Nurse Practitioner Michele Lipman joins CWC

When Michele Lipman is not baking something delicious or spending time with her

golden retriever puppy, she is caring for and being “mom” to the students of New College. In

August, the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) welcomed nurse practitioners Michele

Lipman and Erin Comerford on staff. Last week Lipman sat down with the Catalyst as she gave

her initial thoughts about working at New College as well as information about herself in the

hopes that the community will know she is “there for whatever the student needs.”

“We’re here, ready to see you, I like to be busy and we love to give information,” Lipman

said. “I tell them ‘I don’t want you to be sick but even if you have a question just pop in.’ Don’t

ever be embarrassed for what your question is or how you’re feeling, just let it all out because I

have heard a lot in 15 years of doing this. It’s a really intimate relationship and it helps when I

can hear what your concerns are and what your symptoms are. It’s a team effort.”

Lipman grew up in East Greenwich, Rhode Island and later lived in Miami and California

before coming to Sarasota. Lipman has a bachelor’s from Providence College in Rhode Island in

health administration, and a second bachelor’s in nursing from Barry University in Miami, where

she met her late husband, with whom she has two children, both now in college, one for

engineering and the other for medicine. Lipman lived in California while her husband finished

his own medical training, and then moved to Sarasota in 1988, where she got her master’s in

nursing from the University of Tampa in 2000 in order to become a nurse practitioner. It was in

Sarasota that Lipman raised her children while going to school part time.

“This came at a good time in my life,” Lipman commented on working at New College.

“I had lost my husband, we were married for 29 years, and he passed away this year… and I

thought, I love what I do, and I need a big change. I am kind of reinventing myself, and I thought

a college atmosphere is a happy place and young kids for the most part are healthy, and I just

needed that fresh exposure, fresh air. Just so I could get back to who I am, find out who I am

now that I have this next stage of life.”

Lipman said she had known about New College for several years, having heard about it

from a fellow nurse practitioner, but had not considered it until recently. “It was like all the stars

aligned,” she said. Lipman then contacted Comerford. “We job share, and so she will cover me if

I am gone for any amount of time, and same with her. We just needed that backup. It just works

out nice, the clinic will always be staffed.”

Lipman names herself lucky in that she only works at New College and uses her free time

to visit her children and raise her puppy, Cannoli. “I had the Italian heritage in me come out,”

Lipman said. “And I thought Cannoli would be a great name, and she is a Cannoli… She’s six

month old and she’s making me crazy!” Lipman laughed. “But she’s great. Ultimately I’d like

her to be like a companion dog. I’d like to bring her into places for pet therapy when she’s


Lipman also does stained glass and loves to cook. “My passion is baking though,

anything chocolate especially.” Lipman plans to stay in Sarasota. “I am lucky, I have a great

support system, I have lots of friends in the area.”

When asked how she likes working at New College so far, Lipman said that it has been

very interesting and that she is really enjoying it. “I like the freshness of the beginning of what

should be the most fun in your life, hearing the stories of the kids coming in, telling me what

they are doing in class, it’s really a nice atmosphere.” One nurse practitioner will always be

available Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., while the counselors are available all

hours the center is open. Lipman usually works on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“I think the main thing is, you need a mom,” Lipman said. “It’s like a mom atmosphere,

and having kids in school I kind of have a feel for students. I mean, every one is so independent

here, but sometimes you just have a question, you just need that mom interaction, an ‘it’s ok.’

It’s scary, if you wake up and you’re not feeling good, you don’t know what’s going on, just

come in.

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