Nurses Move Our Profession Forward
RN, Los Angeles County
In honor of National Nurses Week, May 9-13, Los Angeles County Registered Nurse Garr Wharry recounts his experience working with a fellow nurse who encouraged him to improve patient care and the working standards for all nurses.
Every year, at this time, I think of my old friend, mentor and fellow nurse Diana Castillo. We met 19 years ago. She was a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the pediatric pavilion when I was just a student.
One morning, she entered the floor with as much fanfare as one person could muster and declared, "One of our students saved an infant's life."
I'll never forget that moment, because it was a reminder of why we all became nurses.
Diana passed away 10 years ago, succumbing to her second battle with cancer.
It's during Nurses Week that I am especially reminded of my friend. She would hand write and mail out personalized appreciation cards encouraging each of us to have the courage to carry our profession forward.
With this goal in mind, 30 nurses from SEIU Local 721 joined about 70 others from sister locals in Sacramento for SEIU's California Nurse Alliance Legislative Conference on May 3-4.
Nurse Alliance follows legislation that affects our safety and that of patients. This year we focused on workplace violence and safe patient handling. Last year, a nurse and a psych tech in California were killed on the job. Who among us in healthcare hasn't been hit, kicked or threatened? Who among us hasn't been injured?
On May 4, 100 nurses knocked on the doors of legislators, held meetings and left literature to support our fight for safer work environments. We've won on needle safety and we're almost there on patient ratios.
It is my sincere hope that Diana would be proud of the actions that nurses have taken to move our mission and create a safe environment to care for our patients, for their sake and ours.
Thank you Diana. This week, please remember to thank a nurse in your life.
For more information about SEIU's California Nurse Alliance Legislative Conference, visit www.nurseallianceca.org.