Q: What is your superpower?
A: I’m committed to my patient 110%. I will make your day better if it's just by bringing you a glass of water or a pillow.
Q: What is your name, and where do you work?
A: My name is Ana, and I work in San Diego.
Q: What made you decide to be a nurse?
A: My mother passed away when I was 15, and during that time I wanted to know the ‘how’ and ‘why’. I remember making a commitment to myself to do and be better, for her, and that’s what really pushed me into medicine. I decided that I want to make an impact on people’s lives, and as a nurse who’s with patients for 13 or 15 hours a day, I can say that making a difference is something I can and am empowered to do daily. I have the opportunity to be with patients in their times of need. That’s why I became a nurse.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
A: Over the last year, I was travelling. I’m lucky that my full-time job allowed me to travel, but my plans came to a halt due to COVID and I was no longer able to travel outside of the country. So, I decided to put my vacation time to good use and traveled to support hospitals and patients in New York and Texas. In New York, I had up to 15 patients at a time, and in Texas, I saw up to 6. It was really, really busy, but I'm a busy bee that needs to be occupied, and I do that by helping people. I couldn’t get to travel overseas, but my experiences in New York and Texas were worth it.
Q: What do you wish that people outside of healthcare knew/understood about nurses?
A: A good doctor friend of mine once told me, "We are the ears, we are the heart, we are the eyes of our patients." To me, that says it all,, because we are with our patients for 13 to 15 hours a day, and we are all of that — we see them, we hear them, we are their advocate, we put everything on the line for them. Even when doctors or family members leave, the nurses are there to help the patient use the restroom, change their diaper, even eat. We are there to help our patients 24/7. I don’t think most people understand what goes on behind the curtains. As nurses, we’re doing it all. At the end of the day, we’re committed to helping you and your loved ones 110%.
Q: What is your superpower?
A: My superpower, oh my goodness! Well, I obviously have amazing dance moves. Beyond that. though, I think every nurse has it: compassion, empathy, adaptability. For myself specifically, I have to say commitment. But to pinpoint one thing for myself, I'm committed to my patient 110%, even though they don't like me or we just don't get along right off the bat, I am committed, and I will make your day better if it's just by bringing you a glass of water or a pillow. But I could tell you all nurses are committed, they're just amazing. I love my nurse team.
Q: Can you tell us about a moment or story that reminds you why you love being a nurse?
A: When I went to New York, I had a patient who wasn't doing well. He came from the ER, and then he went to the floor, and I basically followed him wherever he went. I made sure that my patient knew that I was there for him, that I was his advocate because he didn't have anybody there. At that time, patients weren’t allowed to have visitors due to COVID-19. So, during my lunch hours, I would try to find him, just to check in on him and see if he needed anything. I was there when he needed me, and I was his advocate, and I asked him to be moved to the ICU, and he eventually did move to the ICU. I also became close to the family. Whenever they would call for an update, they always wanted me on the phone because they trusted my opinion on what was going on.
Around the same time, his dad was not doing very well. He was placed in the same hospital and the family and wanted me there when he passed, and so I went downstairs to be with him. He didn't die alone. He didn’t die alone. I held his hand all the way through it, and I said, "It's okay." And he passed away, His son was very gracious that I could be there for him and his father, and he invited me to his house the next day so his mother could meet me and say thank you. I decided I needed that closure, so I can tell his son’s mom — the dad’s wife — that he fought so hard, and I tried everything I could, but his body was tired. So when I saw her, I just hugged her so tight and we cried. They made me breakfast — it was delicious. And I feel like I was at home.
Being a nurse, these are the types of experiences that bring me full circle. You throw your heart in it because you want to make a difference in someone's life. You want to be the person your patients can rely on — a nurse that shows compassion, empathy and true care.
That's what I felt that day — I tried and did everything I could, but in the end, it still wasn't enough. But the closure was that I got to meet his granddaughter, I got to meet his son and I got to meet his wife, and I knew in my heart that he was a good man. He was so loved. I was glad to be there for him, and the family even said they were glad that I was there for him. That’s my story, and that's what makes me strive to be a better nurse to help people.