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Passion for Nursing Grows from Hospital Volunteer Position

It was a volunteer position in high school that inspired Roxy to pursue a career in nursing and set her sights on becoming a part of El Camino Health’s hospital family. During her senior year of high school and freshman year of college, Roxy volunteered to transport labs and escort patients to appointments at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View as well as assisting when patients were discharged. She was impressed by the nurses she saw working at the hospital and knew she wanted to become part of the organization someday.

Roxy started her career in nursing as a registry nurse and was eventually hired full-time by a local hospital on an orthopedic/spine unit. After three years there, she accepted a clinical nurse position with El Camino Hospital on the 4A surgical-pediatric unit. She became a charge nurse on the unit about one year later and then joined the Central Partnership Council, a forum for clinical staff to problem solve, select best practice, and improve work flow with the goal of increasing the quality of patient care and nursing satisfaction. After receiving her Medical-Surgical Nursing certification, Roxy was once again promoted and just this past December, she became the assistant clinical manager for the pediatric surgical unit.

The unit name is a bit of a misnomer. Although she works with pediatric patients, most of her patients are adults who come in for orthopedic, bariatric weight loss, and spine surgeries, as well as general and plastic surgeries. As assistant clinical manager, she also works closely with the doctors and has established a good rapport with them through providing regular updates on patients. She stresses that open communication with members of the patient care team is key.

“I feel really lucky to have that kind of relationship with the doctors, and it is something that sets the El Camino Hospital apart from other hospitals. The hospital really values its nurses and we are very close-knit group,” says Roxy.

In her role, Roxy mentors newly graduated nurses and checks in with them regularly as part of the onboarding process. She offers tips on how to work better on the floor, who to go to with problems or concerns and encourages them to keep learning and asking questions. Roxy recommends that new nurses immerse themselves in different areas of their jobs to discover what that they are most passionate about. To be a good nurse, she says you have to be able to work well under pressure, know how to prioritize and have a thirst for learning. Being comfortable asking questions and demonstrating confidence to a patient is important too, along with having good assessment skills so you can identify when a patient’s condition has changed. “You have to remember you are part of a team and how well you work together can make or break the unit,” she adds. According to her, having a positive attitude is the key to becoming a good nurse, and there are no limits to what you can achieve in the nursing field.

Roxy has advice for others who are entering the nursing field. “I tell people the first year is the most challenging and after that, you will have a better grasp of what nursing is really all about. It isn’t an easy job, but it is very fulfilling and at the end of the day, you feel good that you did something that made a difference in your patient’s life,” says Roxy.

“There are so many opportunities for growth at the hospital and a variety of committees you can join if you have a passion for something. More than anything else, there is a real sense of community here. I haven’t experienced anything else like it at any other places I have worked,” explains Roxy.

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