Latisha Russell, RN, CCC
Latisha Russell, RN, CCC
Q: What inspired you to become a nurse?
A: I was inspired to become a nurse in my early 20’s after starting a family and going through some of life’s ups and downs. As a child, I actually aspired to be a school teacher but unfortunately, that never came to light. As I rethought career choices, becoming a nurse seemed to be the most ideal for many reasons. I knew first and foremost that I had the right personality, level of patience necessary and empathy to help people.
Becoming a nurse has allowed me to showcase what is imperative in the field. I have inspired so many colleagues and family alike. My brother has just finished a nursing program and is waiting to sit for the NCLEX and one of my daughters has begun her prerequisites for her studies as a nurse. I am so proud. And now that I am a nurse, I am now also a teacher. It’s amazing how life is full circle.
Q: What brought you to Calvary? Why did you decide to work with patients at the end of life?
A: When I was in college, working toward my Associate’s Degree, a colleague who had been employed by Calvary suggested and recommended me by the time I had graduated. It’s remarkable because I was born and raised in the Bronx and had never heard of Calvary, only it’s neighboring hospitals. The first time I had to deal with death was when I was 15 and my maternal grandfather passed. It was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with in my life. I was so afraid. I was so afraid of the dead until it was reiterated by family that they can do you no harm. When I finally did begin employment at Calvary, I amazed myself at how brave and mature I had become about that part of life. I know the importance of how much it means to patients and their families to be able to die in peace, comfort and with dignity.
Q: Describe a memorable experience you had with a patient or a family member at Calvary.
A: A memorable experience I had actually involved two patients. Both occurred when I was relatively new in my career and worked on 3N. The first involved a 30 something-year-old woman with cancer whose friend’s spouse was a famous rapper. He paid for all expenses for her and the staff to go to Miami for a weekend before she died. I was so happy that Calvary made it possible by whatever means necessary for the staff to accommodate them and make sure the patient stayed safe through her last vacation in her life. She lived again.
The other memorable experience was again when, my 3rd-floor staff and I pitched in and helped a young man, who also had cancer, with the cost of his flight back to Mexico so that he would be home with his family before he too died. There have overall been so many awesome things Calvary has done for patients and their families that will absolutely keep me there.
Q: What qualities are essential to be a Calvary nurse?
A: Without a doubt, to be a nurse at Calvary, one must possess patience, have and express empathy, have an open mind and a love and respect for life and death. You have to be a special person to be able to “be there” in the ways that people need you as they begin their journey. At the same time, we as clinicians have to find ways to do things for ourselves to keep the momentum going and be able to maintain the mission especially if you have longevity with the job.
I am 17 years in and still running and am happy that I am still an RN employed by Calvary. #TeamCalvary