Clinical nurse educator, Perioperative Services
“Being a nurse is what I am,” says Donna. Whether she is in the community or with friends and family, nursing is her identity. It’s not surprising since she has spent the last 20 years as a nurse in Perioperative Services at South Shore. In those two decades Donna has carved out a nurse educator role, advanced her education and found a second family.
Donna was an operating room nurse for 15 years before becoming a nurse educator. Although she described it as a huge shift, she was not a complete novice to the educator role. She had worked as a preceptor and helped developed a vascular team when South Shore Hospital began doing endoluminal grafting for abdominal aortic aneurysms. Her experience coupled with her strong communication skills has made Donna a successful educator. She even started the first departmental newsletter to keep staff abreast of operating room news.
Donna practices what she preaches. Over the last three years she has furthered her own education by working toward a bachelor’s degree online. Donna is examining options for pursuing a master's degree.
All along, Donna has found the support of her peers to be key to her happiness at South Shore Hospital. Teamwork is a vital piece of the operating room, since nurses work closely with others throughout their shifts. But Donna sees her co-workers as more than colleagues.
“We joke about being able to solve all the world’s problems in the staff lounge,” Donna says. “Everybody has a wealth of knowledge, and everyone cares about everyone else.”
If Donna ever thought about finding a new position, it was the thought of leaving her "work family" that made her change her mind. In her co-workers, she found a second family and support system that saw her through challenges in her personal life. She recalls the times that another nurse took her “night calls” because they knew that as a single mother Donna would be unable to come to work in the middle of the night. They told her to “pay it forward” – there would be a time that she would repay the favor for another nurse.
Donna says that she has had support from every side – from the nursing staff, her director, nurse managers, and administration. Now the nurse educator wants to do the same by supporting others, especially the next generation of nurses. “I just want to help everybody move forward,” says Donna.
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