Lourdes Melendez, RN
Lourdes Melendez, RN
Q: What or who inspired you to be a nurse?
A: As a young child, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse. I am someone who is concerned about helping others and I always find myself comforting those in need. My love and compassion for humanity comes as second nature to me, it’s something I can’t switch off. It is my passion to care for patients and their families and I will always dedicate my all to delivering excellence in patient care.
Q: What brought you to Calvary?
A: My mom was one of many dedicated employees at Calvary Hospital. She devoted 22 years to patients and their families during her workdays. As a teenager, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in many of Calvary’s functions and parties. This was how the seed was planted in my ability to grow and become a member of the Calvary family.
Q: Why did you decide to work with patients at the end of life?
A: I decided to work with patients at the end of life because as a Christian and as a child of God, I knew that it was my calling. Being able to be part of a person’s journey at the end of life as well as comforting the family who is left behind can be a bittersweet moment. I am privileged to be part of this journey. As a nurse, being compassionate and showing empathy during this delicate time comes effortlessly. Making sure the patients can transition as comfortably as possible is my duty, while staying composed and supporting family members while they say their farewells.
Q: Describe what it was like to be a nurse during the pandemic?
A: Working through the pandemic was frightening. There were uncertainties and a lot of anxiety. However, I had to push those feelings aside and be brave for the patients and their families. During these challenging times, I was in isolation for many months in order to keep my family and dear friends safe. In addition to all the devastation, I contracted COVID-19 myself, thankfully I only experienced mild symptoms.
Q: What are the various ways that you have worked for us as a nurse?
A: In June of 1991, I began my nursing journey at Calvary Hospital as a nurse-aide. I enjoyed helping my patients with their most basic daily needs. After a few years working as a nurse-aide, I decided to enroll back in school. I began my nursing career at Hunter College. In the summer of 2007, I was nominated for the Dennis Berberich Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund helps one paraprofessional advance in their nursing career. Today, I am proud to still be a part of the Calvary family.
Q: Describe a memorable experience with a patient or family member.
A: There have been many memorable experiences shared with our patients and their family members. Our dedicated Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) is responsible for many of those unforgettable and happy moments at Calvary. For example, I can recall times when patients had debilitating wounds that would hinder their ability to engage in daily living activities. These patients were unable to heal or be repaired because of limited resources, but they became a success story because we, at Calvary were able to heal them and help them recover. These patients were able to leave Calvary with a second chance to live a normal life.
Q: What qualities are essential to being a Calvary nurse?
A: Being a nurse is not an easy job. We care for many people who come from different cultures and customs. An essential quality of being a nurse at Calvary is compassion. Often patients are too ill or their caregivers are not informed enough to be able to speak for their loved ones. Nurses must be their patients’ and caregivers’ voices. Nurses also must be empathetic. They must consider every patient’s challenges without judgment so every patient can be treated as an individual with their own values and life experiences.
Lastly, having a sense of humor is an essential quality when you’re at Calvary because it helps spread positivity to other nurses, patients, and their families. A good sense of humor reminds patients and their families that nurses are people too. In the long run, this increases their trust and openness with sharing feedback and concern.