Her dedication to teaching perianesthesia to fellow nurses has led to improved patient care.
What are your job responsibilities? I have a dual role as a clinical nurse at the bedside and as a clinical educator for the PTU/ PACU unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. I am responsible for the new and transfer employees' unit-specific orientation programs, and I also manage the annual progress in unit competencies. As a clinical educator, I help identify educational needs and develop, implement, maintain, coordinate, present and document educational programs for our staff. I also function as a mentor and facilitator and offer resources for the perioperative nursing staff.
What challenges are there with perianesthesia? Perianesthesia is a broad term describing the practice of anesthesia, which encompasses pre- and post-anesthesia. Perianesthesia nurses have specific training and expertise to care for patients who have received various types of anesthesia. The initial hour during the recovery phase after receiving anesthesia is crucial. Airway management and overall clinical status is monitored closely; sometimes within seconds a patient may not be able to support his or her airway and can stop breathing or have a cardiac event that may require emergency intervention.
What are CPAN and CAPA certification classes? Why do we need them? CPAN (Certified Post Anesthesia Nurse) and CAPA (Certified Ambulatory Perianesthesia Nurse) are certifications for perianesthesia nurses that validate their achievement of knowledge gained through professional education and experience and advances the hospital toward Magnet Recognition.
I have always felt that we, as registered nurses, should be experts in the fields in which we work. For example, in my field of working with pre- and post-op patients, learning more about anesthesia is highly beneficial. So I thought why not start a program that would do just that? Since I've never had experience in this type of undertaking, I was fortunate enough to enlist the help of Charles Griffis, CRNA, Ph.D., UCLA assistant professor of anesthesia. I research the content on CPAN and CAPA and Dr. Griffis presents the information to the nurses to help them learn more about anesthesia and gain a better understanding about the care of post-op patients.
What motivates you to stay committed? Nursing is my passion and my lifetime commitment! Nursing requires commitment, education and hard work. My reward for that commitment is the ability to make a positive difference and improve the lives of my patients. My goal is to always give back to nursing what I gain from it and to teach others along the way. This work has been a humbling and rewarding experience. I cherish my 33 years at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica.
Have you had any memorable experiences you would like to share? I was very fortunate to meet and work with Ammar Sakkour, M.D., intensivist, Critical Care Unit at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica, who passed away a few years ago. He dedicated his professional life to saving lives and alleviating suffering while supporting and contributing to mentoring others. Dr. Sakkour included nurses in the decision-making process when treating critically ill patients. He taught me to look beyond nursing to the other areas of caring for critically ill patients.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy the diversity of patients we encounter each day. We work at a very fast pace and it keeps me on my toes. I especially enjoy working with a core of exceptional nurses who provide excellent care.
What do you enjoy in your spare time? I try to stay active and healthy. I like to run, kayak and snorkel. I enjoy reading and biking with friends. Most of all I like being with my husband of 14 years and playing with our three dogs.