Men in Nursing 2016

Features

Men in Nursing 2016

Paths to Caring

By Aaron Severson
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Just as there are many career paths in nursing, there are also many roads to the profession. For some male nurses, a nursing career is a family tradition or a way of balancing the scales for care they have received. Others came to nursing after working as emergency medical technicians or nursing assistants. Regardless, all these men have one thing in common: a commitment to compassionate patient care. 

Working Nurse Marc Ceres 

Marc Ceres, RN, BSN
Clinical Nurse III
City of Hope

✦ Marc Ceres is a nurse of diverse interests: While pursuing his BSN, he worked as a market researcher and “brand ambassador” as well as founding his own photography business. He is now working on his MSN, with an eye on nursing leadership roles.

 What is a “day in the life” like for you?

Typically, my day starts with a report, which is interrupted with a code or rapid response. The rest is a blur. The next thing I know, I’m lying in bed realizing I helped a family guide their loved one to his/her final moment and cheered a newly extubated glioblastoma patient during his first ambulation. 

 What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

The opportunities I have to participate in practice changes, whether it is being part of diversity meetings and early mobility implementation programs or lending my expertise in root cause analysis meetings.

 What is most frustrating about nursing? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

Cancer frustrates me. If I could change anything with a magic wand, I would use it to eliminate cancer. But, as we know in oncology, there isn’t a magic wand to do that. 

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

My preceptor, David Rice, RN, Ph.D., is one of my key role models. His insights and leadership skills continue to be a beacon for me. My teammates at City of Hope are also my role models. We take the fight against cancer personally because we see patients through the whole spectrum. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career in nursing?

It’s a profession that spotlights your insecurities; challenges your views on life; and forces you to accept the good, the bad and the ugly. No amount of money, pride or opportunity can keep you in this profession — only your compassion and dedication. Also, find something outside nursing to give you life. Nursing and caring for others are noble pursuits, but passion, love and art are what we live for. 

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Working Nurse David Watkins

David Watkins, RN, MSN, CEN
Associate Director, Emergency Department
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

✦ David Watkins worked as an EMT before becoming an ER nurse. He joined Cedars-Sinai in 2001 and became associate director of the emergency department in 2013.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

I am currently responsible for ensuring that a staff of 250 FTEs has the tools and resources needed to provide quality patient care. I round with the staff throughout the day, am briefed on issues and attend staff meetings.

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

Helping to improve the overall patient experience. We are currently working with consultants to help patients to be seen more quickly and efficiently within the emergency department.

What is the most frustrating aspect of nursing?

I am not frustrated with nursing. I enjoy my work and the challenges I face. If I had a magic wand, I would continue to improve nurses’ ability to think critically. I would also like to improve the autonomy of nurses by developing effective protocols to improve efficiency and patient care.

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

My uncle, Bill Jennings, was the reason I went into nursing. He was a paramedic and would tell me stories of how he helped save someone’s life. I aspired to be like him. At Cedars-Sinai, I have had several nurse managers and directors as mentors, each encouraging my growth as a professional and a compassionate caregiver. 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Emergency nursing is an incredible profession. You get to touch and impact so many lives. You see people at their worst and you get to help them through that experience. Showing that you care and having the skills to help them is such an incredible gift.

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Working Nurse David Foster

David Foster, RN, MSN, RNC-NIC
Staff Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care
Redlands Community Hospital

✦ David Foster was a nursing student in an era when “it was common for male nursing students to be dismissed from labor and delivery rooms.” During that time, he discovered his passion for neonatal intensive care, which has been the focus of his career ever since.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

I am part of an extremely talented team of healthcare practitioners who work together to reunite families with their sick or premature neonates. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

The greatest reward is seeing and hearing about an NICU “graduate” who is meeting all their developmental milestones and having a happy childhood. The most exciting aspect is participating in original research that will contribute to improving the care of our patients. This project has really given me new perspective on the importance of research and innovation in nursing. 

What is the most frustrating aspect of nursing?

I would impress upon every healthcare professional the importance of the principles taught in Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. I have been applying Watson’s caring processes in my own practice and working to establish therapeutic touch as a tool to enhance the hospital experience for my tiny patients and their parents.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career in nursing?

Find a deep and meaningful purpose. We have a Jean Watson quote hanging above the nurse’s station in our unit: “This one moment, with this one patient, may be the reason I am here on Earth.” It helps me put into perspective why I became a nurse. 

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Working Nurse Peter Nalbandian

Papken Peter Nalbandian, RN, CCRN
Surgical Intensive Care Unit
Glendale Adventist Medical Center

✦ Papken Nalbandian’s mother, an RN in Israel, actually tried to convince her son not to pursue a nursing career. He took it as a challenge and today is a surgical ICU nurse.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

We assist patients who have received coronary artery bypass grafting, cardiac valve replacements, spinal surgeries and many other complicated surgeries. We also treat most of the stroke patients. We sometimes see amazing results with many afflicted patients, but unfortunately, at times, we also have to witness tragedies.

What is the most exciting recent development in your specialty?

We have a saying: “Time is brain.” The faster a clot is removed from a cerebral artery, the less damage there is to affected brain tissue. Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may take as long as two hours to dissolve a thrombus, but retrievable stents can now retrieve blood clots from occluded cerebral arteries within minutes.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about nursing?

Many unfortunate patients are not able to get necessary care due to health insurance limitations. If I had a magic wand, I would make the system in the U.S. a universal healthcare system where health insurance is a right and not a privilege.

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

Even though my mother initially did not want me to become involved in this “tough profession,” I was always inspired by her. I would often volunteer and visit her at the Hadassah Medical Center in Israel and witness the amazing care she gave rehabilitation patients. I also appreciated observing her continuous inner peace and confidence in dealing with patients, families and coworkers.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

If you enjoy critical thinking, in-depth knowledge of your patients and creating miraculous differences in patients’ and families’ lives during critical conditions, this is the job for you. However more than in any career, it is very important to really want or love to do this job. If you do not really enjoy it, you will most likely not provide the best care and will burn out in no time.  

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Working Nurse David Romberger

David Romberger, RN, MSN
Operations Manager, Cardiothoracic ICU
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

✦ Although David Romberger originally planned to become a physical therapist, a male nurse he met as an undergraduate led him to instead find his calling as a pediatric cardiac intensive care nurse.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

Our primary patient population is children with congenital heart defects that require surgical repair. My role is to make sure my team has everything they need to provide the best experience they can for the families we serve.  

What is the most exciting recent development in your specialty?

It is exciting to be on the front line of medical advancement that improves outcomes for children. Some examples include fetal cardiac interventions and ventricular assist devices small enough for infants. 

What is the most frustrating part of nursing?

I dream of a hands-free EMR, where charting is dictated while the nurse’s assessment skills and caring hands are focused on the patient, vitals are recorded automatically and all the data compiled goes into a patient dashboard that acts as a tool for patient care.

Did you have a role model or mentor?

There have been a number over the years. My current major influence is CHLA Heart Institute Director, Clinical Programs and Professional Services, Barbara Gross, RN, MSN, NEA-BC. She has a wealth of experience in both the clinical needs of the heart patient and the administrative skills of running a department. 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Find out what you are passionate about. I was drawn to the combination of teamwork, high acuity and technical aspects found in critical care. The pediatric cardiac world also provides a deep connection with patient families.  

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Working Nurse John Ayers

John Ayers, RN, CCRN
Clinical Coach, Acute Rehabilitation
Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare 

✦ John Ayers was inspired to become a CNA and then an RN by male nurses he met while volunteering as an EMT at a rural hospital. After exploring various specialties, he joined Casa Colina in 2008. 

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

As a clinical coach, I try to anticipate anything that will hinder the nurses from providing great care to their patients. My role can be anything from assisting with nursing tasks to helping to train a nurse on how to better address a patient’s needs. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

I have witnessed many patients who are very sick and debilitated regain strength and mobility. It is not uncommon to see a former patient visit the unit to thank the staff and show how they have continued to improve. 

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

As a rehab nurse, I have had two role models: Kathy Hwang, RN, CRRN, and Peter Alawode, RN, BSN, CRRN, PHN. They are coworkers who demonstrate the kind of compassion and expertise I work to achieve. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Acute rehabilitation nursing is a very rewarding specialty. You are able to help your patients to overcome debilities and regain independence.   

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Working Nurse Armen Babakhanyan

Armen Babakhanyan, RN, BSN
Staff Nurse, Emergency Department
Simi Valley Hospital

✦ Armen Babakhanyan has worked in the emergency department as a hospital volunteer, an EMT and a staff RN. He’s now pursuing his MSN to become a family nurse practitioner. 

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

The day begins with a report from the off-going nurses. Rapid assessments and treatments quickly follow. There are a huge number of responsibilities the emergency department nurse must juggle.

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

The most exciting aspect is the diversity. There are many different patients with a variety of complaints. This keeps my mind fresh and keeps me continuously learning.

What is most frustrating about nursing?

The more critical the patient, the more charting is needed, but it is the most critical patients who need the most hands-on care. Although I understand the importance of charting, I would prefer to be at the bedside.

Did you have a role model or mentor?

As an EMT, many of my nurse coworkers took time to teach and encourage me. I am very happy to be working as a nurse alongside the nurses who were my role models. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Don’t forget that even though a patient’s chief complaint may not be emergent to you, it’s an emergency for them. They are scared, nervous and vulnerable and they are trusting you to provide compassionate care. 

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Working Nurse Trae Bane

James “Trae” Bane, RN, CFRN
Air Medical Base Supervisor, Rotor Wing
PHI Air Medical Susanville 

✦ Trae Bane was a private pilot and alpine ski instructor before following in his mother’s footsteps as an RN. Flight nursing allowed him to combine multiple passions into a single career.

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

My day is filled with the possibility of adventure. As a supervisor, there is a significant amount of administrative work, but all that fades away when we get a call. We train every shift and, being on-shift for 24 hours, also try to get appropriate exercise and rest.

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

We get the chance to deploy significant interventions and expanded scope of practice to truly affect people’s outcomes, sometimes before ground units arrive on scene.

What is the most frustrating aspect of nursing? What would you change?

I wish every nurse could function under the scope that we do on the aircraft and be empowered to make decisions that create the most positive improvements in patient outcomes. Nurses, respect your EMS ground crews! Paramedics and EMTs are invaluable assets to the healthcare team and deserve the same respect as all other healthcare professionals.

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

My mother raised four children and provided a loving home while going to school to become a nurse. That level of dedication left an indelible mark on my life. My preceptor and friend, Michele Guthrie, RN, CFRN, taught me the right way to approach this job, which has impacted my practice and that of those I have trained. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

If you want to be a flight nurse, begin by working in an ER or ICU with an excellent preceptor program. Start taking as many advanced certification classes as possible, take CFRN exam practice tests and find where you need to improve. After three to five years of experience, apply for a position on an aircraft and be ready to stretch your wings! 

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Working Nurse Casey Metcalf

Casey Metcalf, RN, BSN
Manager, Heart & Vascular Center
Good Samaritan Hospital

✦ Trained in Alabama, Casey Metcalf began his career in the ER, transitioning to the cath lab after moving to L.A. He took on his current managerial role earlier this year.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

I now work a more traditional 9-to-5 schedule, but with 24/7 operations responsibility. I constantly huddle with my charge nurse and have frequent interactions with our physicians, triaging procedures and adjusting the schedule. Also, we are constructing two new procedure labs, so I assist in coordinating the construction and installation.

What is the most exciting recent development in your specialty?

There have been countless advancements in endovascular procedures. Good Samaritan is one of the largest structural heart programs in Los Angeles and performs many complex procedures, including transcutaneous aortic valve replacement and mitral clips. In July, our site was the first center on the West Coast to implant a bioabsorbable stent. We are also finishing the application process to become a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

What is the most frustrating aspect of nursing?

When I first started working in the ICU, the nurse served as the eyes and ears of the physician when they were not at the bedside. We had more nursing-driven protocols and more autonomy. As healthcare technology advances, physicians have access to electronic health records from their smartphones and home computers, which provides a safer environment for patients, but decreases the autonomy of the bedside nurse.

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

My mentor is the first person who oriented me in the ED, who became the department supervisor and my boss. She had an extensive knowledge of trauma and critically ill patients and engrained in me many skills that allowed me to become a high-functioning new graduate. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Working in a procedural area provides variety in case mix and acuity, which provides a better balance. It is much easier to care for a straightforward outpatient than an intubated patient with four chest tubes and 12 drips. Also, we are able to see the patient’s progression in a short amount of time. 

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Working Nurse Rodolfo Bautista

Rodolfo “Jojo” Bautista, RN, BSN, CPHON
Charge Nurse, Acute Adolescent Care Unit
Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital

✦ An alumnus of Loma Linda University, Jojo Bautista originally pursued a finance degree before switching to the BSN program. He has worked in acute pediatrics and more recently in acute care for adolescent patients.

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

I do morning rounds with our manager, talk to patients and families and then address their concerns. We huddle with bedside nurses, case managers and social workers to talk about current issues and barriers to discharge. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

Our unit’s focus on adolescents makes us unique. We specialize in managing eating disorders and cystic fibrosis and we are also trained to take care of hematology/oncology patients. The variety keeps us on our toes.

If you had a magic want, what would you change about nursing?

I would improve communication among all disciplines in the hospital. Better communication means better care for our patients and shorter hospital stays.

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

Multiple people have molded me into who I am today, but as a charge nurse, our manager, Alane Allbee, BSN, CPN, CPHON, is my role model. She exemplifies the words dedication, hard work and balance. She has made our unit the best in our hospital. Staff, patients and families even request to go to our unit.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Adolescents can be challenging, but this is also a vital time in their lives when someone can make a difference and mold their futures. Have patience and learn the skills to communicate with this age group.

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Working Nurse Matthew Brideson

Matthew Brideson, RN, BSN
Manager, Clinical Informatics
Methodist Hospital of Southern California 

✦ Matthew Brideson was originally a music major, but the horrors of the early AIDS crisis inspired him to become a nurse instead. In the ‘90s, he shifted focus to informatics, implementing EHR systems in 20 U.S. states, Canada and the U.K.

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

Meetings with clinical providers, testing what we have built, evaluating if it works and whether it’s sustainable for future endeavors. The nursing process is very much a part of what I do each day. My amazing team (66 percent registered nurses) truly cares about the patient’s wellbeing and the clinician’s ability to accomplish quality care. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

We now have the power to really pool our knowledge and design best practices, manage antimicrobial stewardship, embed evidence-based references into the clinician’s workflow and implement real clinical management tools that can even track population health and predict health outcomes. 

What is the most frustrating part of nursing?

The continual focus on what the budget can bear. There are myriads of great projects that the IT staff wants to accomplish, but ever-shrinking funding increases the challenge. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Never lose your sense of curiosity. Be a student of how healthcare is provided at your organization and don’t be afraid to learn everyone’s jobs, to the extent possible.  

Sidebar -- A LIFELONG CONNECTION

Matthew Brideson’s nursing mentor has played different important roles in his life since he was a boy. Their remarkable connection — and unexpected reconnection — might make you believe in fate. As Brideson explains:

"Claudia Bays, RN, MSN, was a school nurse and an amazing leader of health promotion in my primary years. She hosted first aid classes for school-age children, teaching us principles of CPR and choking rescue as well as stress management. She was there not just to fix scraped knees and pack bloody noses; she was also there to listen, to advocate and to educate us as well as our families. In elementary school, I suffered frequent stomachaches from the various stressors of the age. “Mrs. Bays” instantly recognized a child with stress “held in” and was a refuge and comfort to me. I developed better coping skills, showing that someone who cares makes a great difference. As luck would have it, Claudia turned out to be my very first nursing instructor at Cal State University, Sacramento. She was then and still is an amazing mentor and life inspiration of mine. I was even privileged to have guest-lectured in one of her courses at Cal State many years ago, demonstrating features of the then-new electronic medical record. I’m thankful for her presence in my life in every path of my career."

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Working Nurse Solomon Ali

Solomon Y. Ali, RN, MSN
Correctional Nurse
City of Los Angeles, Personnel, Medical Services Division  

✦ Solomon Ali has worked in hospital, home health and skilled nursing settings. Since May 2012, he has cared for patients within L.A.’s city jails.

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

Taking comprehensive medical histories of patient/arrestees, doing physical exams and diagnostic tests, conducting sick calls and providing treatment in collaboration with the medical provider. Responding to emergencies is also a big part of my job, as is monitoring patients withdrawing from drugs and alcohol. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your job?

The most exciting aspect of correctional nursing is providing nursing care and health education to patients who may have limited understanding of their own health. We have also been compiling data on homelessness, substance abuse and mental health issues that will help the city improve care. 

What is most frustrating about nursing?

Some of our arrestee patients may be in emotional distress or under the influence of substances and unwilling to provide their medical histories. Reevaluating the patient as they calm down or sober up and informing them that we are there to help works.

Did you have a role model or mentor?

I am truly inspired by my colleagues and management. We start every shift with so much enthusiasm to keep everyone safe and healthy while in custody. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Nurses may worry about safety in correctional facilities, but they are probably the safest place to work. Law enforcement personnel always ensure the safety of the medical staff. 

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Working Nurse Shawn McGowan

Shawn McGowan, RN, MSN
Clinical Nursing Director II, Ambulatory Care Services
LAC+USC Medical Center 

✦ Beginning his nursing career in psychiatry, Shawn McGowan has risen through the ranks from staff nurse to supervisor, assistant nursing director and eventually clinical nursing director of ambulatory care services at County USC.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

In two words, “busy and fulfilling.” Our facility has approximately 500,000 clinic visits a year, so a day is often a whirlwind of identifying and addressing issues that may impede patient flow and affect patient experience. 

What is the most exciting recent development in your specialty?

The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has seen our facility and its hospital-based clinics move from safety net facility to provider of choice. Thanks to the ACA, we are now responsible for providing 50,000 patients with primary, preventive and specialty care.

What is most frustrating about nursing?

Nurses are often the unsung heroes of the healthcare delivery system. Our nursing leadership has performed magic to change this by participating in the DAISY Award program, having an annual nurse recognition ceremony and recognizing staff identified by patients as going above and beyond the call of duty. 

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

I have been fortunate to have served under many great nursing leaders. Each one of them inspired, developed and groomed me for future roles. I do the same with my staff to provide great nursing leaders for the future. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career in nursing?

Embrace change — do not fear it. Your fears will subside and excitement will take over. 

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Working Nurse Jefferson Barrineuvo

Jefferson Barrinuevo, RN, CCRN, TNCC
Cardiovascular ICU Staff Nurse and Relief Nurse
St. Francis Medical Center

✦ Jefferson Barrinuevo first joined St. Francis Medical Center as a registry nurse, but soon found himself wearing many hats, including EHR system “superuser.” He is now pursuing his BSN with the goal of becoming an acute care nurse practitioner.

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

Aside from being a cardiovascular ICU staff nurse in the open heart program, I am a MAP [mobile admitting personnel] nurse who responds to rapid response events and codes. I am also one of the few people trained to precept new hires and am a relief educator on our hospital’s ARCIS computer charting system (a customized version of QuadraMed).

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

I love the continuous learning experience. Our unit deals with STEMI [ST-elevation myocardial infarction], cardiac surgery, therapeutic hypothermia, intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation and trauma-related therapeutic modalities. We always learn something new from our intensivists and are able to apply a lot of evidenced-based concepts in our practice. 

What is most frustrating about nursing? If you had a magic wand, what would you change?

I would improve and reinforce public health knowledge and awareness. I believe that prevention of illnesses is better than a cure in many aspects.

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

There are three. Tes Tayag, RN, MSN, CCRN, has given me all the support she could possibly give, especially during my first few months in the ICU. Marlene Castañon, RN, CCRN, and Lauren Gurrola, RN, CCRN, are both in leadership positions and encouraged me to accomplish more in this specialty. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career in nursing?

Be proactive and assertive in learning new things and be receptive to learning from experiences and mistakes. I also want to emphasize the importance of teamwork, humility and respect for one another.   

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Working Nurse Ron Fernandez

Ron Fernandez, RN
Clinical Informatics Coordinator
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center 

✦ After earning his business degree, Ron Fernandez explored a series of different career possibilities, but felt professionally unfulfilled until he decided to become a nurse. He is now pursuing his master’s degree in health administration informatics.

What is a “day in the life” like for you?

My typical work day consists of training staff on electronic medical record (EMR) documentation and changes, either through classes or on a one-to-one basis. Also, I conduct audits to ensure sustainability and identify weaknesses. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

Our department gives the staff an outlet to which they can reach out for help and that can be their voice with regard to EMR issues. The most exciting aspect of my job is seeing and hearing the positive reactions from staff. 

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about nursing?

I would have staff be more open to change. It can be a huge undertaking to embrace an EMR system after charting on paper for so long, but it has many advantages. 

Did you have a role model or mentor?

My role model in nursing is my mother. She has been a nurse for more than 25 years and has always instilled in me what it takes to be a great nurse, such as teamwork, critical thinking and respect for people of all cultures and races. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career in nursing?

Nursing allows you to grow not only as a professional, but also as a person. It teaches so many life lessons that you cannot get anywhere else. 

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Working Nurse Cristian Puiu

Cristian Puiu, RN, MSN
Nurse Manager, Ambulatory Specialty Care
Harbor-UCLA Medical Center 

✦ Cristian Puiu describes his nursing career as “working my way through the EMT, CNA, LVN and RN roles one class at a time.” He has been an RN for L.A. County Department of Health Services since 1999.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

Since becoming a supervisor and recently a manager, “Let the stress begin!” is the first thing that I tell myself when I wake up in the morning. My job is to create the best possible workplace for my people. My priority is to engage my employees in meeting their patients’ needs. 

What is the most exciting recent development in your specialty?

The healthcare changes of the past five years have put ever-rising pressure on county facilities to acquire and keep more patients. This has meant a radical transformation emphasizing excellent customer service and patient-centered care. 

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about nursing?

I would like every employee to treat their patients as they would treat their own family members. A good attitude and a smile ultimately translate into better care for patients. 

Did you have a role model or mentor?

My clinical nurse director. On my first day, she asked me if I want to be better. I said, “Yes.” Ever since then, she has brought out the best in me in every single aspect of my daily work. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career in nursing?

Be positive and always look on the bright side of things. Your day might not go as planned, but a positive attitude usually gets the job done.  

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Working Nurse John Melchor

John Patrick Melchor, RN
Clinical Staff Nurse III, ICU
Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital 

✦ Nursing wasn’t on John Melchor’s radar until a post-college internship helped him realize a desk job wasn’t for him. He joined Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital (MLKCH) in 2015, before the hospital reopened, and is now pursuing his MSN.

What is a “day in the life” for you?

I’m on track to complete my master’s degree within the next year, so balancing studying and work with my free time with my wonderful girlfriend and our two goofy dogs is really important to me. Having a supportive significant other who helps remind me of life beyond school and work is a blessing.

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

Our continued growth. Every day at MLKCH brings new challenges, but my manager, our doctors and our coworkers have made great strides in becoming a more cohesive team to improve care and outcomes for patients. 

What is the most frustrating part of nursing?

The most frustrating parts for me are lack of communication and the passive-aggressiveness that results from harboring ill feelings and pettiness. What’s the point of being grumpy the whole day and making someone else’s day even worse? I’d rather hash it out and talk about it. 

Did you have a role model or mentor?

My former preceptor and charge nurse are two of the best nurses I’ve ever met. They taught me that all nurses make mistakes, but the most important part is to identify what went wrong and what I can do to prevent it. 

What advice would you give someone who wanted to pursue a career in nursing?

Always continue to grow and learn. And have patience with yourself and those around you. Nursing is more than just following specific procedures — it’s about providing service, not only to your patients, but to each person around you.  

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Working Nurse Felton Ruvalcaba

Felton Ruvalcaba, RN, BSN, TNCC, ENPC
Charge Nurse, Emergency Department
White Memorial Medical Center

✦ Felton Ruvalcaba’s path to nursing began when he was hospitalized following a near-fatal car accident when he was only 7 years old. After becoming an RN, he worked on a med-surg unit before joining the emergency department at White Memorial. 

What is a “day in the life” for you?

Working in the emergency department is very unpredictable. When the department is calm, I tell my coworkers that the ER is in the eye of the storm. I’ve learned to be on my guard and ready for whatever may come through the doors. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

No matter how experienced an ER nurse may be, you’re always learning something new and encountering new areas of different specialties. That’s the beauty of emergency nursing. 

What is most frustrating about nursing?

More and more students are getting into nursing for the money rather than for the founding purposes of this honorable profession. Yes, security and economic stability are very important, but we mustn’t lose focus on what sets nurses apart from everyone else. 

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

I had several mentors, but two stood out from the rest: Carole Snyder, RN, BSN, M.S., and Christine Zaiser, RN, BSN, PHN. Both taught me the value of being an ER nurse under great pressure. I’m very grateful for the energy they invested in me. I didn’t understand until later why they were so hard on me — I’m dealing with people’s lives and I shouldn’t take it lightly. 

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Emergency nursing forces you to apply yourself physically and mentally. You need to be on your toes, anticipating your patient’s every health need and applying your critical thinking skills. However, what you need above everything else is compassion. 

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Working Nurse Ian Wilson

Ian Wilson, RN, MICN
Critical Care Transportation Manager
PRN Ambulance 

✦ An interest in disaster relief drew Ian Wilson to a career as an EMT and then to nursing. With five years of ER experience under his belt, he decided to return to PRN Ambulance, where he had worked in nursing school, as a critical care transport nurse and more recently a manager. 

What is a “day in the life” for you?

Much of my time is dedicated to ensuring smooth critical care operations at our five stations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. I spend most of my time away from my desk and out with our nursing staff, training, recruiting, scheduling and liaising with county EMS agencies. I also spend lots of time reviewing clinical and quality assurance information as well as analyzing call trends and data. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your specialty?

The breadth of knowledge our job requires is exhilarating and frightening. We have to be familiar with everything that the patient is undergoing at both ends, not just what we do in the back of our ambulance. I often chuckle when I hear my nurse friends talking about the difficulty of learning the new IV pump at their hospital. My team has to learn every pump there is! 

What is the most frustrating aspect of nursing?

Communication is a remarkable challenge in my field. I have 40 nurses covering eight shifts at five stations in two of the largest counties in the country. It takes a lot of planning and logistics to get information and training disseminated to the entire staff in a timely manner. 

Did you have a role model or mentor in nursing?

Sergey Gantman, RN, BSN, MICN, my first charge nurse on the night shift in the ER, is the hardest-working, most caring nurse you could imagine. He taught me the virtue of caring and the value of dedication. We have both moved on from that emergency department, but I imagine we’ll be good friends for life.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to go into your specialty?

Make friends, never enemies. Also, it’s always okay to change your goals, but it’s never okay to not have any.  

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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