Lisa Plaza, RN, BSN, MPH
Lisa Plaza, RN, BSN, MPH
Q: What inspired you to become a nurse?
A: I was inspired to become a nurse after the wonderful care I received in the hospital when I gave birth to my daughter. It was my first time in the hospital and I did not know what to expect. The nurses were so caring, patient and understanding. That is when I realized that I would become a nurse and make a difference in someone else’s life by making their hospital stay a pleasant experience.
Q: What brought you to Calvary?
A: I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. I was visiting my Nursing School shortly after graduation. The Administrator had just hung up the phone with an alumna of the school who was also a manager at Calvary Hospital. She was asking her to recommend a recent graduate nurse because Calvary was hiring. She knew immediately that I was the right nurse to work for such a special place. That was 12 years ago. She was right, I couldn’t imagine working anyplace else.
Q: Why did you decide to work with patients at the end of life?
A: I didn’t choose end of life care, it chose me. As a new nurse, I wasn’t sure what direction my career would take me. I heard really good things about Calvary over the years and people always spoke highly of the care their loved ones received.
At first, I was hesitant to begin my nursing career in end of life care. I had very little personal experience with the end of life and didn’t know how helpful I would be to patients if I became overwhelmed with emotion. After realizing that life comes full circle, I took a leap of faith and joined Calvary’s mission of taking a holistic approach towards providing compassionate patient care.
Q: Describe a memorable experience you had with a patient or a family member at Calvary.
A: I met a patient while doing rounds. He was very friendly and sat by the door and said hi to everyone that passed by. We talked about his arts and crafts collection and his love of baseball.
He didn’t have any family or friends visiting him, so I made it a point to stop by every day and say hello either on the unit or at recreation. His face would light up and he would have a big smile every time I came to visit.
One day, I went to visit him at recreation and he wasn’t there. I immediately went to see him on the unit. His condition had declined, he was critical, and no longer able to recognize the world around him.
I continued to visit him and spoke to him about baseball even though he was unable to respond. I knew that would be the last time I saw him.
I was sad that he was gone but knew that my visits and the attentiveness and emotional support of the Calvary staff made an impact on him and improved his quality of life in his final days.
Q: What qualities are essential to be a Calvary nurse?
A: Essential qualities for a Calvary nurse are compassion, caring and empathy. In order to get the full picture of what patients are going through you really need to put yourself in their shoes. Even then, one can only imagine the impact of what is going on.
As a caregiver, active listening and clear communication is key to providing the emotional support, and compassionate care that is needed. Get to know your patient and their life prior to their illness and before coming to Calvary. Everyone has a unique story and it can help you gain a better understanding of how best to care for them.
Working here makes you examine your own life and helps you to realize how precious life truly is. I find working here very rewarding and I count my blessings every day to be able to make a difference in people’s lives during this emotional time.