Men in Nursing 2017 (M-P)

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Men in Nursing 2017 (M-P)

Their career choices, meaningful patient experiences and sources of daily inspiration

By Working Nurse
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Jeff Mackenzie

Jeff MacKenzie, RN, BSN RN • Educator and Simulation Specialist, Critical Care • Pomona Valley Hospital

How did you choose your specialty?

In my last semester of nursing school, I worked as a nurse’s aide in a cardiac unit, which was also the site of my last clinical rotation. I quickly became fascinated with all things cardiac. It was exciting and stressful at the same time.

How has technology changed the way you work?

I appreciate not having had those advances at first because it forced me to calculate on my own and better understand the concepts at work, but once the technology came about, it allowed me to spend more time on other aspects of patient care. In my role as an educator, we use high-fidelity mannequins with heart sounds, lung sounds, pupil reactivity and much more. Our participants are able to get a more accurate picture of how their patient might sound or look given certain conditions. The learners really reap the benefits.

Please share a meaningful patient experience.

I had a long-term patient who had bounced on and off the heart transplant list. Finally, we got him optimized. His wife had just left the hospital after being by his side most of the day when I received a call from the transplant team. After I hung up, I handed the patient his bedside phone and said he should call his wife and tell her to come back. “Why?” he asked. “Because today you are getting your new heart,” I said. It was a very emotional moment.

 

Christopher Mallari

Christopher S. Mallari, RN, BSN, CEN, MICN • Charge Nurse, Emergency Department • Adventist Health Simi Valley

Tell us briefly about your career path.

Of my 22 years as a registered nurse, eight years were in sales and marketing as a medical representative with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The rest are mostly in the ED and also as a clinical instructor, from the Philippines to the Sultanate of Oman and then here.

How did you choose your specialty?

I chose the ED because the pace and diversity make it endearing to me. The critical thinking, adrenaline and grace under pressure keep my sanity. Part of my role is also to inspire each oncoming shift to keep team spirit high and foster positivity. The rest is teamwork, camaraderie and the love of what we do. It proves that nursing is not just a profession, but also a vocation.

Please share a meaningful patient experience.

I took care of a middle-aged mother who had a stroke and received tPA. A few months later, I was invited to a stroke luncheon and there met her again. She had no neurological deficit and was enjoying the company and love of her husband and two young daughters. Being part of her care team was a fulfillment of inspiration, wholeness and hope, especially for her kids.

 

Richard Meadows

Richard M. Meadows, RN, CPHQ • Lead Care Management Specialist • L.A. Care Health Plan, Los Angeles

Tell us briefly about your career path.

I started preparing for nursing just prior to entering the military as an Army corpsman in 1968. Men were not allowed into nursing schools in rural Illinois back then, but I had a mentor who saw potential in me to help others. After the Army, including a year in Vietnam as a combat corpsman, I was allowed to enroll in nursing school. One could say my military experience was a prerequisite for nursing.

How did you choose your specialty?

Choosing case management was really a logical evolution of my diverse clinical experiences. Functioning as an advocate, navigator, educator and steward of resources is what nursing means to me. I am now a lead care manager for the nation’s largest publicly operated health plan, serving more than 2 million members in Los Angeles County. My unit is really all of L.A. County. My patients suffer multiple chronic medical, functional and social conditions. They are individually unique and all are challenging. The best part of my position is the encouragement to be creative and think outside the box. I enjoy excellent executive and medical leadership. We are a cohesive multi-specialty team and it is wonderful.

What do you know now that you wish you’d learned earlier in your career?

To be more tolerant of the intolerant.

 

Gino Morales

Gino F. Morales, RN • Support Nurse, Lead Nurse and Instructor, Behavioral Medicine Unit • Adventist Health White Memorial, Los Angeles

How did you decide to become a nurse?

My father was a mortician and my mother was a funeral director. Initially, I believed that joining them in that work was my calling. However, after encountering the body of a sick 3-year-old girl, I gradually changed my major to learn more about medicine, medical intervention, disease pathology, prevention and health. My experience working with cadavers and autopsies has helped me transition to bedside nursing. Emptying bedpans, commodes and urinals was never a problem for me, nor was postmortem care.

Describe your current role.

I evaluate patients who are suicidal, homicidal or gravely disabled as a result of mental illness. Common denominators include acute grief or loss experiences, pathological depression, medication noncompliance and hopelessness. Treating these patients requires cautious, skilled, healthy interactions and personalized treatment plans. I am also a certified MOAB (Management of Aggressive Behavior) instructor and an instructor for our in-house workplace violence prevention program. 

Please share a meaningful patient experience.

I had one patient who was on a 14-day hold because she tried to cut her wrist. Her son had been murdered by a gang, shot in her car. She had not slept in over a week and was hallucinating, calling out for her son. I reviewed her medication record and was bewildered by the ineffectiveness of all the pharmacological interventions.  Finally, I said, “Let’s pray together.” We prayed and she began to shake so much I thought she was having a petit mal seizure. She began crying. Later, her roommate asked for a room change because she was snoring, indicating that she was sound asleep and finally getting the rest she needed.  It was an intense spiritual experience for me and I still get goosebumps talking about it.

 

Benjamin Morgan

Benjamin R. Morgan, RN, BSN, CEN • Director, Critical Care • St. Francis Medical Center, Lynwood

Tell us a little about your career history.

I became an RN in 2000 and quickly progressed to charge nurse/unit lead. In 2003, I started working as a nurse aboard cruise ships, spending four months away and two months at home. I continued working at local hospitals between assignments. Two years later, I became a lead nurse on the ships. Two years after that, I became a clinical educator and auditor, traveling between shipboard medical centers. I moved to an office-based role in 2010, overseeing shipboard medical operations, and in 2015 was promoted to director of medical operations. Last year, I decided to step back into hospital operations and then into critical care. My specialty has become the management of standards, protocols, relationships and logistical flow, ensuring that we provide a high-quality service while working to build and empower my teams.

Please share a meaningful patient experience.

As a relatively junior ED nurse, I was assigned a teenage patient with muscular dystrophy who was in respiratory distress. He needed noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, but there was an ED policy that no more than two patients could be on this therapy at the same time. Since the ED had already hit that limit, we ended up sending the patient to ICU. He recovered and his family was thankful, but I felt that with a more practical policy approach, we could have avoided an ICU admission. That experiences spurred me to always look for the best ways of doing things, making sure we always put patient and family first.

What do you know now that you wish you’d learned earlier in your career?

Give 100 percent, but be relaxed as you do. Learn to control what you can and have a plan for what you cannot.

 

Vahagn Nacharyan

Vahagn Nacharyan, RN, MSN-FNP • Registered Nurse II, Emergency Medicine • Olive View UCLA Medical Center, North Hollywood

How did you become a nurse?

I was inspired by my mother, who is an RN. I started taking prerequisite classes while a junior in high school, did well and was accepted into the nursing program at Valley College. During my first semester, I almost gave up. My parents encouraged me, saying it would get better, and I stuck with it. By the time I went into fourth semester, I was loving everything about nursing — the rewarding feeling was overwhelming at times. Later, I wanted to advance my studies and practice and completed my MSN with a role focus as a family nurse practitioner.

Tell us about your specialty.

Before I was accepted into my nursing program, I worked as an EMT and enjoyed the rush and adrenaline. I thought nursing would be less exciting, but I knew after my fourth semester of nursing school that emergency medicine was where my heart was. I’ve been an emergency room nurse for the past nine years. My day-to-day consists of triaging, assessing and carrying out orders with multidisciplinary teams. We have seen patients with everything from minor toe injuries to gunshot wounds and complex lacerations.

How has technology changed the way you work?

I got into nursing as the ACA was being enacted and electronic health records were being mandated, so I was prepared for the change. Today, it would be a great challenge if we went back to paper documentation!

 

Miguel Ortiz-Reyes

Miguel Evardome Ortiz-Reyes, RN, BSN, PHN, MICN, CEN • Nursing Instructor and Per Diem ED Nurse • Hubert H. Humphrey Comprehensive Health Center and LAC+USC Medical Center, Los Angeles

Tell us briefly about your career path.

I chose my specialty right out of nursing school without any real consideration — I would often watch ED nursing stories on cable TV and daydream about how exhilarating it would be to work in that realm. Caring for patients from birth to old age in an environment of “organized chaos” can often be very challenging. Since becoming an ED nurse, the fields of nursing education and pre-hospital care have continued to fascinate me. I am currently a nursing instructor with future aspirations to become a nurse practitioner. I enjoy the different nursing “hats” I wear because I work with an incredible group of nurses who share similar goals.

How has technology changed the way you work?

Technology is a wonderful thing for healthcare; I embrace it, I welcome it! However, it can fail at times, leaving unprepared providers anxious and disorganized. Every institution should have downtime procedures in place in the event of a technological failure. I often observe newer staff members struggle with downtime procedures because they rely too heavily on technology.

What do you know now that you wish you’d learned earlier in your career?

I wish I had learned Spanish earlier in my career because communicating with my Spanish-speaking patients was difficult. I eventually was able to develop enough conversational fluency to better care for my patients.

 

Robert M. Pickett, RN, MSN, NEA-BC • Director, Neurovascular and Rehab Services • Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Burbank

How did you choose your specialty?

Early in my career, I had people who believed in my ability to become a nurse leader, even when I didn’t believe that of myself. Four years into my nursing career, I had the desire to make an impact on patient care by serving this population in other ways. My experience in quality management and direct patient care allowed me a natural progression into increasing leadership roles. I spent two and a half years as director of critical care and emergency services at Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City. I came to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in 2009 as director of critical care and am currently director of neurovascular and rehab services.

Please share a meaningful patient experience.

Some of my most rewarding experiences have been seeing stroke patients have great recoveries after receiving our telestroke services, which are now available 24 hours a day — critical when dealing with stroke patients. Our partnership with both local Providence hospitals and other community hospitals allows our neurologists to visit virtually with patients, resulting in far better outcomes for patients treated as quickly as possible. Some of these patients are back to work and spending time with their families after receiving remote services in a hospital that would not otherwise have had the necessary resources. Seeing these patients walk out of the hospital with few or no deficits is amazing!

What do you know now that you wish you’d learned earlier in your career?

You cannot change everyone, but you can change the way you see the situation. There is value in seeing each situation as an opportunity rather than a hurdle.

This article is from workingnurse.com.

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