Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Jenna Carbone

Jenna CarboneTMC Intensive Care Unit nurse Jenna Carbone approaches her work with intense focus and singular caring for many of the most critically ill patients on her unit.

A nurse for six years, Carbone always knew she was meant to be a nurse.

“Even as a little girl, when my dad would come home from biking with cactus in his legs, I would get out my light and tweezers and pick each one out,” she recalled.

Since then, she not only graduated with honors, but also holds Critical Care and NIH stroke certifications to enable her to provide care to the highest acuity patients, including those with neurologic injuries. She’s also dedicated thousands of hours over the years to new graduate and student nurses.

Carbone, who is close to her parents and her family, credits her great grandfather, who was a stubborn, hard-headed kind of guy, with teaching her patience. And she has a deep commitment to getting to know the people she is serving in the Intensive Care Unit.

“It’s really great to get to know the families,” she said. “You know what you are fighting for. They are able to tell you about the patient and their personality.”

As much as she fights for her patients, she has had to learn that not every patient can be saved. She has been with patients at their deaths and participated in ceremonies at the end of their lives. “Because of my faith, I am comfortable with death and it is an honor to serve someone who is at the end of their life. My mom is a deeply faithful woman and when she gets bad news, she always says she knows that God has a plan for her.”

Carbone may cry at commercials for the Olympics, but she’s strong when it comes to patient care. “I don’t get emotional in the moment or at work. You have to know how to help and be a shoulder for others to cry on.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Jenna on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50. nurses 

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Julie Seidl

Julie Seidl.jpgIn her 40-plus year career as a nurse in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit, Julie Seidl has undoubtedly had an impact on the lives of hundreds of infants and parents. But in all that time, including 20 years spent at the bedside, one set of triplets and their parents made a lasting and indelible mark on her.

“The triplets will be 21 in April and I’ve been best friends with their mom since we met in the NICU,” said Seidl.

The youngest of the triplets, all born at just over two pounds, turned out to be her very last patient at the bedside before transitioning to a new role in the hospital. “They are my legacy. It’s a privilege that I have been able to share their whole life,” she said. “They are great examples of what the future can hold for premature babies.”

For 21 years they have shared many special moments … holidays, birthdays and even vacations together. “It’s funny because as a nurse, you always care about all of your patients, but you are a professional. It was different when I met them though – we just felt like family,” said Seidl.

“I’m so grateful because sometimes as a nurse you wonder, ‘Did I make a difference in someone’s life?’”

Another piece of her career legacy is the innovative Infant After Care Program she developed, along with TMC Pediatric Outpatient Therapies, to provide ongoing follow-up care for premature babies for their first two years. “To be ready to enter the world, the promise of Mother Nature is 40 weeks in the womb,” she explained. “When you come early, you’re not ready in body or in brain development. And the brain is the piece that often gets overlooked. With the After Care Program, we can spot those little hiccups and work to rewire the brain before it’s a bigger problem.”

A baby floating in the womb is surrounded by quiet, hearing their mother’s voice and heartbeat. If that time is cut short, they are tasked with breathing, seeing and fighting gravity before they are ready, she said. Seidl’s work as an Infant Development Specialist includes educating staff and parents how to best mimic the womb by creating a calm, quiet environment without bright lights and wrapping the baby as they would be in-utero – flexed and tucked.

The TMC Infant After Care Program is free to any infant born before 36 weeks of gestation at TMC thanks to a grant from the TMC Foundation.

“This program is the best thing that I could do at the end of my career,” says Seidl. Not that she’s going anywhere any time soon. “I truly love what I do.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Julie on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Damiana Cohen

Damiana CohenDamiana Cohen, manager of the Mother Baby and Women’s Care Units at Tucson Medical Center took an interest in birth when she was 12 and happened upon a book about midwifery.

The road to nursing didn’t come right after high school though; she took a non-traditional path and along the way collected a number of experiences, from three years of college, to travel in South America, to driving a school bus and waiting tables.

But she never lost that fascination with the stories of birth, and she went to school to become a licensed midwife, ultimately spending more than 12 years with families who wanted to have birth experiences at home.

When it was time for a new chapter, Cohen went to nursing school – a decision she’s never regretted because of the experiences that unfolded from there, from working with marginalized populations to teenagers finding their way in the world.

Cohen spent 12 years working as a forensic nurse performing post-sexual assault exams and on that time she reflects, “That really and truly was my passion. Not always, but a lot of times, it’s the marginalized people in a society who are victimized. And in some ways, it was a bit like being a midwife, because you’re there with somebody, one-on-one, helping them through this very intense situation. It’s smart, autonomous nursing, it’s scientific, it’s about human rights and a person’s dignity – and I would go home and feel like I really impacted someone’s life.”

Cohen spent three years working as a school nurse with pregnant and parenting teenagers. “Hardly any of them had a parent figure in their lives, so I could be that presence to tell them what so few had a chance to hear: That they mattered and I cared. I wanted them to be empowered to be parents while still having their lives and finishing their education.” She still connects from time to time with some of those students; many of whom were inspired to become nurses.

“I think I’ve enjoyed my nursing career because I’ve done so many different things,” Cohen said. “Life has offered me opportunities that I haven’t foreseen. And I’ve always believed that when something comes your way, it’s good to reflect on what the universe is offering you and take a moment to listen.”

Just as she’s had many careers, she has many facets outside of work – a mom to her sons, now 25 and 29, a runner, a hiker, an organic gardener, a film fanatic, a reader, a cat lover, a supporter of women and equality, a birdwatcher and nature lover, a lifelong learner, a traveler, a thinker, a seeker, and a sister and a friend.

And through all that, her underlying motto is, “Be a good human.”

“I find that when I do that, everything else seems to fall into place.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Damiana on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.

 

Celebrating our Fab 50 Nurses: Veronica Riesgo

Veronica RiesgoFor TMC Nurse Manager Veronica Riesgo, her dedication to patients and her coworkers goes beyond the profession and is part of her passion to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

Riesgo’s first priority and first career was her family. “I was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years,” she said.  “But I always had a desire to help others and I always thought about pursuing work in nursing.”

When her children reached ages in double-digits, Riesgo volunteered at a local hospital to see if the desire was still there. “The passion was stronger than ever,” she said. “Soon I was enrolled in nursing school and working full-time as a patient care technician (PCT).”

As a full-time PCT, a full-time student and a full-time mom, there wasn’t much room on Riesgo’s plate. “I wouldn’t change anything – it was so beneficial and rewarding.”

After graduating and becoming an RN, Riesgo never slowed down – working in cardo-thoracic, transplant, ICU and other high-acuity units. “It is challenging, but when you have that opportunity to help someone on what might be their worst day – it is very meaningful,” explained Riesgo.

With remarkable stress and a dizzying pace, high-acuity units have a reputation for burn-out. For Riesgo, a unique outlook has helped her thrive in the demanding environment and kept her coming back, day-after-day.

“It’s a dedication to people, not just the profession,” she said. “A dedication to the patients and the incredible nurses I work with. We know that no matter what happens or how hard the day is, we’re going to make it happen, together.”

This incredible attitude, combined with her knowledge of critical care and strong organizational skills paved the way to management positions where she has achieved notable successes, such as helping reduce the patient injury rate by 45 percent in just one year.

Now managing a 36-bed, combined critical care unit with more than 100 staff reporting to her, Riesgo was named one of the 2018 Fabulous 50 nurses. “I’m so honored,” she said. “I’m grateful for my experiences and the nurses I work with every day.”

Advice from a Fab 50 nurse? “When you put others first, it changes your perspective and you recognize that you are involved in something bigger than yourself.”

Tucson Nurses Week Foundation recognizes, publicizes, and supports the accomplishments, innovations, and contributions of nurses to the health of our community by honoring 50 outstanding nurses as the Fabulous 50. Well done Veronica on being nominated and recognized as one of Tucson’s Fab 50.


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