November 2019 Student Spotlight
What drew you to the health care field? To nursing?
For some, becoming a nurse is a calling. I went to college in an effort to find my passion and calling; so in a way nursing found me in undergrad. My real commitment to the field and healthcare came in nursing school. Having professors and peers recognize my aptitude for the work provided me with that extra drive I needed to excel. I also have a background in social work, and in that field, the ability to communicate in laymen’s terms is a necessity. I was able to hone that skill, which has served to be the difference-maker in my career.
What does it mean to you to be a nurse serving New York City’s population?
There has been an increased emphasis on population health, which views the population as the patient. In this, the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group is emphasized. As an Assistant Director of Nursing for the Care Management Department, one of my responsibilities is to look beyond the individual. I am tasked with helping find ways to educate families and groups in our diverse New York City population. I’m a strong believer in education and emphasizing staying healthy starts with primary care.
How do you think your Marxe Executive MPA will boost your nursing career?
Healthcare professionals can bring great value to population health management. As a nurse, the nursing model focuses on the assessment and management of all of the physical, biological, social, psychological, and environmental influences on health. Within the healthcare system, nurses serve as the primary contact with and advocate for patients, families, and communities. With an MPA, I think I can amplify my voice to serve our underserved population. I want to enact changes in dated policies and connect with our local politicians to improve our population’s health.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face with our health care system? How do you approach these challenges?
Resources, mainly staffing, is probably the biggest challenge. Nurses provide twenty-four hour care and are at the crux of any inpatient hospital. We may make up a large, if not the largest, proportion of personnel at any given hospital or health care facility; but even still, with extended patient stays and the complexity and challenges each patient has in their care, it’s difficult to stay engaged and not burnout. It’s important to have coworkers and a supervisor who look out for their department. It isn’t enough to know your caseload but staying abreast of other patients beyond your cases is also needed, and often expected should a nurse need a day or week off. With this profession, it’s important to practice self care, remain resilient, and maintain professional relationships with other disciplines since we are all one team. Also, today’s world, where you might be expected to go beyond your job description, you also have to stay up-to-date with new skills and think outside of the box to get the job done as a collective team.
Can you tell us of any experiences you’ve had helping patients or their family that was particularly memorable?
I worked in behavioral health during the early part of my career and there’s one patient I’ll never forget. This patient had a knack for being disruptive and attention-seeking at the same time every day, during visiting hours. It seemed odd at first that it happened at the same time, almost every day, but after observing this patient for a while, I realized they never had any visitors. Their acting out was essentially out of pain, because visiting hours was their reminder that no one was coming. The days they didn’t act out were days they was engrossed in a book. We didn’t have many books at the hospital so I brought some from home. Most of the time, patients need medical care but sometimes, they also need someone to be kind and help them escape from their illness or their personal troubles. That patient was particularly memorable because while they may have been difficult during their stay, on their last day of admission, they thanked me for bringing their passion for reading to light and for coordinating the effort to bring in more books. I was surprised that they knew it was me that did that, which only meant that they were watching me too. Sometimes we’re so busy, we never stop to think someone would be watching us, but our patients do and when we’re kind, they notice. That’s a lesson I try to remember every day.