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My face flushed as I hurriedly stuffed more napkins around me to contain the warm clear liquid that was seeping down my dress. It seemed to be surrounding me, my husband and I tried to conceal what was happening. When he lifted his voice, getting anxious I shushed him and told him to get more napkins. I remember trying to focus on my breathing. The first of the stabbing pains began just below my naval. I tried to minimize the pain and flow of the liquid by adjusting my position on the vinyl-cushioned seat. I squeezed my legs tighter together. Our waiter brought us our food without noticing I was having some distress. I was attempting to take a bite of broccoli when I looked up and spotted a paramedic rounding the corner with the hostess in tow. My thought was of concern for the poor customer who must have choked or was having chest pain of some sort. It wasn’t until he approached our table with his medical bag and clipboard in hand that I realized he was there for me! As I walked out of the restaurant I sneaked glances at other customers around me but met no eyes. It is amazing to me how people can communicate powerfully in such diverse ways. Their silence told me that someone in the crowd was concerned but did not want to be known. I think back on the night I went into labor unexpectedly because it reminds me of when I knew I wanted to make a positive change in the way people received medical care.

I had some knowledge of what to expect during childbirth due to my education received in nursing school before I “stopped out” to give birth to my first child. Three months later I rejoined the nursing class at Ohlone College, focused and determined to get my ADN and pass the NCLEX to begin working finally as a Registered Nurse. I say this because my life previous to this I had experienced many challenges. A full-time job ultimately affected my pre-requisite studies. Once back in nursing school I focused and worked hard to accel and developed a passion for nursing and the interconnected application it has in everyday life. This led my path focus has made me into a dependable and knowledgeable nurse and leader.

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When I graduated in 2005 with my associate’s degree in nursing I worked at a busy telemetry/step-down unit as a new graduate RN for six months. It was there that I fully understood the art of nursing and how it involved constant learning and growth. For the next two years, I jumped at the chance to attend any educational course or in-service I could find at the hospital or volunteer in the community to continue that growth and development. I was recruited to train in the Intensive Care Unit and for five more years I honed my critical thinking skills to become a proficient critical care nurse.

Our unit was unique in that we had a mixed population of patients. We admitted children and adults to our ICU. This was a new change when I arrived at the unit and many nurses refused to learn about how to care for the pediatric population, fearing their licenses would be at stake. I volunteered to go for education courses and rounds with nurses and doctors at Oakland’s Children’s Hospital to help establish knowledge and evidence-based pediatric guidelines in our ICU.

While training in ICU I became expert at many skills including continuous renal replacement therapy for severely septic patients. I trained nurses on how to care for post-open-heart bypass and valve replacement patients requiring vasoactive drip titrations and hemodynamics. I was heavily involved in changing paper charting to the electronic medical record in our facility and was used as a resource throughout all areas of the hospital. As a “superuser” resource I took many classes of training to assist nurses in successfully documenting legally and correctly in the newly established medical record. I also took on the role of charge nurse and was able to focus my nursing knowledge and skill in other ways through educating and training nursing staff on rapid response development and stroke protocols.

I moved on to a larger facility after seven years of great learning experiences and professional development. A bit sad to go, but I was hungry for more clinical knowledge and the chance to further my nursing career. I am always so excited to learn from and network with other professionals. This key aspect of learning fuels my desire to enhance my nursing practice, helping me to evolve and grow professionally.

In my current job as charge nurse of a 27-bed combined ICU/CCU, I am involved in monitoring patient satisfaction. Every shift I visit patients who have been transferred out of our unit. I asked them how the care they received in the ICU, and if they were clear about their plan of care while with us. Usually, they have many great comments to share, but occasionally I hear about unresolved issues. I am always disheartened to hear the unpleasant ways some patients perceive they were treated and frustrated when I hear that a plan of care was never discussed, and they are still left wondering. I know then where to focus my education with the interdisciplinary team so that no patient must feel lost and scared about the care they are receiving.

Thinking back on the time nearly fifteen years ago, I was embarrassed to be escorted from a restaurant after my water broke. I arrived by private vehicle to the hospital and there was a sudden disconnect from what I had assumed needed to be communicated to me but was not. I couldn’t have an epidural and was not informed of any plan of care needed to get me through the birth of my baby successfully without unneeded worry or stress. The nurse who ushered me into a room was visibly flustered and annoyed that she had to take another patient. It seemed as if I had never discussed my birth plan with my physician. Being on the other side of it, there was no evidence of planning from either discipline. I ended up having a long nine-hour

very painful labor for no good reason. The lack of caring was palpable to me. This experience has made me very aware of the importance of effective communication and talking with patients step by step about their plan of care. In my current role as charge nurse, I am involved with educating nurses on care plan development and making sure all patients and their families are up to date and clear about what is going on with them.

Learning to function as an important member of the multidisciplinary team has allowed me to see the patient and family needs differently. Being able to concentrate on patient and family-centered care by incorporating aspects of different disciplines has inspired me to reach further. My current position has allowed me to function in a leadership role where I can share my knowledge of caring for complex critically ill patients and help coordinate care derived from evidence-based practice.

My spiritual beliefs are derived from the Bahai religion. I believe that humanity should be united and not judged or persecuted for individual religious beliefs. One of the reasons I wish to enter the Master’s in Nursing program at The University of San Francisco is because of how they truly value the individual. Similarly, they have an unbiased view of religion and act as a haven for all individuals. The University has also forged close relationships with hospitals and other nursing employment to encourage education development. Because of the alliances between the school and the place of work

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