I am Nursing

Celebrating Nursing

Each of our nursing associates at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a unique story about what drew them to nursing and what keeps them calling the Hospital Center home. In our I am Nursing series, we meet these amazing people, learn more about who they are and what inspires them, and celebrate their commitment to helping others heal. 

For MedStar Washington Hospital Center float nurse Tasha Zochert, nursing is a calling, not a job.  Zochert knows something about callings. She has a few of them.

You can see one of them – her passion for photography – on display at the Galesville MD, River Gallery show dedicated to the Maryland Blue Crab opening this weekend (Sept. 3).

Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs. 2016
Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs. 2016

Through a close family friend, Zochert was able to meet a crabbing boat at the dock in Chesapeake Beach and photograph them hauling in bushels of blue crabs. Despite taking more than 300 photographs, only two could be submitted for the gallery show.  The result: a photographic study of Maryland blue crabs, one of the Chesapeake’s renowned treasures.

The  photography, says Zochert, is something she happened upon after finishing her nursing degree.

“I took an elective photography class and my final project was on flowers,” she says. Encouraged by her family, teacher, and classmates, she began looking for an art gallery that would be willing to take on a novice photographer.

“As luck would have it, a local gallery’s next show was dedicated to flowers, so I framed two images, and sent them in,” she says. “When my flower photographs actually sold I realized, ‘I just became a professional photographer!’”

Zochert joined the Maryland Federation of Art and her photographs have been in galleries across the state.  While still “a far cry from Ansel Adams,” the photography she says, “isn’t about fame or money. But then,neither is nursing.”

Zochert’s call to nursing came almost as serendipitously as her photography. While living abroad with her family, (her mother was a clinical laboratory scientist on active duty with the military in Germany), Zochert began a paramedic program.  When she returned to the U.S., her credits would not transfer. 

“I didn’t want to have to start from scratch,” she recalls. On her way home from volunteering for an ambulance service she heard an ad on the radio that a hospital was hiring nurses. “I thought, ‘I could become a nurse and work in the emergency department!’” 

Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs 2. 2016
Zochert, Tasha. Blue Crabs 2. 2016

She enrolled in a local community college nursing program, and during her critical care rotation “a light bulb went off,” she says. “I thought, ‘This is where I’m supposed to be.’ I love the intensity and detail of critical care.”  She graduated top of her class, went directly into critical care, and now has nearly a decade of experience.

Zochert also loves the simple act of helping people. She jokingly calls her approach to patient care “Tasha’s ICU and Day Spa,” because she is known for doing manicures, washing, combing and braiding hair, shaving and trimming beards, etc.  “Sometimes there are so many machines required to care for the critically ill that it’s frightening for families to see. I always try to keep my patients clean, so the families can recognize their loved one beneath all the tubes and wires.”  Zochert is passionate about ensuring the fundamental dignity of each of her patients.

In October 2014, Zochert came to MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s float pool, where nurses move from unit to unit to fill in where needed.  The uncertainty and challenge of not knowing anyone and the moving between different patients on surgical, burn and neurological units demanded flexibility.   Her critical care nursing skills were widely appreciated, and she was recently honored with the “Chief Nursing Executive Award for Patient Care.” 

Zochert says she bases her patient advocacy on one question: ‘Would I want me to be my nurse?’” 

Today, Zochert is capitalizing on the schedule flexibility afforded by the float pool to earn her BSN.  Zochert considers herself a “life-long student”  and has future aspirations of teaching or becoming an advanced practice nurse. It won’t happen right away, she notes. “I’m not ready to give up being at the bedside.”

Zochert’s photography is on view at the River Gallery at 1000 Main Street, Galesville, MD from September 3 through October 30, 2016.

I am Nursing

I am Nursing

I am nursing

Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about nursing at MedStar Washington Hospital Center visit our nursing career page here or contact Human Resources at 202-877-7441.

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A Shining Example of Devoted and Compassionate Care

Patients often tell us that remarkable care is what sets a healthcare institution apart. Here’s a snapshot of some of the people at our hospital who are providing phenomenal comfort and care to our patients, especially when they need it the most. Above, President John Sullivan presented the President's Award to two nurses, Maite Corbin and Sarah McLaughlin, for remarkable care and compassion to their patient and the patient’s family.  

(Pictured: 2H Nursing Director Maraki Endale, 2H Medical Director Dr. Brian Lee, President John Sullivan, recipient Maite Corbin, recipient Sarah McLaughlin, Chief Nursing Executive Sue Eckert, and 2H nurse Jessica Patterson)

Recognition from Peers

This President’s Award nomination was submitted by Jessica Patterson, RN, BSN, CCRN, 2H Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, on behalf of her nurse colleagues Maite Corbin and Sarah McLaughlin for their exemplary display of our SPIRIT Values – Service, Patient First, Integrity, Respect, Innovation and Teamwork

Dear President Sullivan,

It is not often that I truly feel the need to recognize outstanding nursing care, but this past weekend I experienced just that. I myself am a Clinical Nurse II at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and work on 2H, the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit. Recently, our unit received a patient with a devastating diagnosis. A teen girl, walking home from work, was struck by a motor vehicle and brought to MWHC for treatment. Although she underwent extensive surgery, by the time she arrived to our unit, her prognosis was very poor. However, the outstanding team of physicians I work with on both the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and Neurosurgical teams promised her family that they would do everything within their power to medically manage her and give her the best chance possible. To add to the family’s grief, the patient is currently here on a student visa and her mother still resides in El Salvador.

Despite our best efforts, by two weeks after the accident, no significant improvement in her brain functionality had been made. Originally, her mother’s application for a visa to the United States had been denied. This is where the amazing group of nurses I work with come in. Sarah McLaughlin's advocacy for this patient and her mother played a key role in assisting this parent to have the opportunity to see her child while she was still alive. I was the nurse caring for this patient the night her mother arrived. I should also mention that the patient’s mother and many of her family members are Spanish-speaking only. This was her mother’s first time in the United States.

The next night, prior to the day we were going to withdraw care of the patient, I cared for the young girl again and her mother had not left the hospital. My other coworker and nurse, Maite Corbin, is fluent in Spanish. She suggested a plan of care to me that I had not even thought of which was to ask the mother if she would like to assist in bathing the patient in what would likely be the last time. This was such a personal process that while a translator phone was available, Maite offered to help me and the mother bathe the patient so that the mother would feel comfortable and could easily receive instructions and guidance during the process in her native language from Maite. During the bath, the mother was able to kiss, touch, and be with her child during these final hours. When we were done bathing the patient Maite pulled the side rail of the bed down and pulled a chair next to the patient’s bed to allow the patient and her mother to be as close as possible together. She then proceeded to ask the mother questions about the patient-her hobbies, interests, school performance. The mother was then able to both talk about her daughter, expressing how she always wished for a better life for her in the United States. This also gave her the opportunity to grieve. By time the night was over, all three of us were in tears. The next day, Sarah assumed care for the patient.

Both of these nurses continue to work at the bedside while attending graduate school and being full-time moms themselves. I cannot express enough the gratitude I have to be working with such incredible women. They are advocates for their patients, their patient’s families, and their fellow nurses. They continuously provide the type of courageous and compassionate care I have described in this letter on a daily basis. I am blessed to have the privilege of calling them my coworkers and they deserve to be recognized for the type of care they provided.

Making a Difference

Congratulations, Maite Corbin and Sarah McLaughlin, for being recognized for the outstanding work you do and embodying the guiding principles for patient care we uphold at MedStar Washington Hospital Center. It is an honor to work with people as deserving of the President’s Award as you both.

Know someone going above and beyond?

This is just one of the wonderful stories of our associates who are providing exemplary care to our patients. Do you have others to share? Email them to [email protected]

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I am Nursing

Celebrating Nursing

A professional rugby player, a former ballet dancer and a volunteer who works with the homeless – all are also MedStar Washington Hospital Center nurses.  Learn more about their unique stories, what inspires them and why they are committed to helping others heal in our I am Nursing series.

Patrick Mirabella, MSN, RN, NE-BC: A Nurse Who Lives for the Unexpected

Patrick Mirabella never thought about nursing as a career during high school in Seattle.  A football player with an interest in science and math, Mirabella was focused on becoming a pilot. During his freshman year in college at an aeronautical school, however, it became clear that becoming a pilot wasn’t on his horizon.

“It just wasn’t what I wanted to do,” he explains. “So I started looking for careers that involved science and math, that would have me dealing with people and on my feet, and where I could come to work not knowing what to expect every day.”

He transferred to a nursing program and found it matched his goals.  He also missed the team sports atmosphere of football, so when an ultimate Frisbee teammate suggested he join the rugby team, Mirabella joined – even though he didn’t really know the sport. Mirabella hasn’t looked back. He completed his nursing degree, and has played rugby ever since.

He discovered MedStar Washington Hospital Center through the eye surgeon he worked with, and came to the Hospital Center to work in the outpatient Family Health Center. While there, he completed a master’s in Nursing Administration. Today he’s the nursing director for ambulatory surgical services, running the clinical operations in 16 outpatient clinics – some of them at the Hospital Center, and others in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. With health care’s increasing emphasis on preventive care, Mirabella says, outpatient services are growing so quickly that it fits perfectly with his interest in improvement and innovation.

“It’s continuous process improvement,” he says. “Nothing is static. You implement one new system and then another one needs attention. I am doing what I always wanted to do.”

Hillary Elliott, RN, BSN, CNOR, RNFA: Offering a Passion for the Arts that Translates to Nursing 

Hillary Elliott heard that Edward Woo, MD, Paul Corso, MD and the talented team of surgeons they had assembled for MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center were looking for a nurse manager. She recalls thinking that it would be worth moving to work with these world-renowned cardiac and vascular surgeons.

“The vascular and cardiac world is a very small community,” she says.” These surgeons are some of the most respected professionals in the country.”

So when a recruiter contacted her about working at the Hospital Center, she was on board. That was more than a year ago.

Today, the Texas native runs the cardiac, vascular, thoracic and endocrine surgery programs in the Hospital Center operating room. In addition to working with staff scheduling and overseeing the progress on more than 65 procedures a day, she manages supplies and instruments for theses intricate surgeries. “l’ll even scrub in to help out if needed,” she notes. “It’s never boring.”

Although her mother was a nurse practitioner, “As a teenager, you never want to do what your parents do,” Elliott laughs. So she threw herself into dance, and in her teen years was dancing with the Joffrey Ballet and other companies. “After a number of years, l realized it was only going to take me so far. Eventually, eventually my body would give out.” That’s when she moved into nursing.

Elliott believes nursing requires the same passion as dance. “Nursing is an art. It takes years and years to master your art form. In both nursing and dance, you stretch your abilities beyond what you think you can do. It takes that same dedication.”

The payoff: “You’re giving back to the community. There’s nothing like it.”

 

Learn more about some of our talented nurses at MedStar Washington Hospital center below. 

I-Am-Nursing-Metro-Poster_Final_Set-4

I-Am-Nursing-Metro-Poster_Final_Set-2

I-Am-Nursing-Metro-Poster_Final_Set-1

Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about nursing at MedStar Washington Hospital Center visit our nursing career page here or contact Human Resources at 202-877-7441.

Subscribe to Blog

Get health tips and the latest news in your inbox.

I am Nursing

Celebrating Nursing

Each of our nursing associates at MedStar Washington Hospital Center has a unique story about what drew them to nursing and what keeps them calling the Hospital Center home. In our I am Nursing series, we meet these amazing people, learn more about who they are and what inspires them, and celebrate their commitment to helping others heal. 

Clory Morrison-Rosales, RN, likes helping people and being a nurse.

“I got both from my aunt,” she says.  A nurse in the 1940’s and 1950’s at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in D.C., her aunt purchased several houses around the hospital and would provide housing for people who were recovering from nervous breakdowns, says Morrison-Rosales. “They would then get jobs, and begin the process of starting their lives again.”

Morrison-Rosales received her nursing degree from the University of D.C., then worked at George Washington University Hospital and at Washington Hospital Center before moving on to manage evening supervisors and staff  for MedStar’s Visiting Nurse Association.  She then worked at D.C. General Hospital. When D.C. General  closed in 2001, Morrison-Rosales returned to the Hospital Center, where she has worked in the intermediate nursery ever since. “All my friends were here, so it just made sense,” she says. She cares for infants that do not need the NICU but still are not quite ready to leave the hospital . “I like it because you’re helping  these babies mature enough to go home. “

She earned a certification as a breast feeding counselor, and loves working with new mothers on caring for their babies. In fact, it is watching mothers care for babies that inspired her to begin providing temporary living space for homeless moms or veterans in a house she owns. “I did it from my heart, so they could have peace of mind. At one point this homeless person was a newborn, and his or her mother didn’t want them to have this kind of life. Anything we can do to help people lead productive lives is a good thing.”

 Mark Marino, MSN, BSN, is a humanitarian at heart and a great motivator. 

Within 72 hours of arriving in Haiti after the devastating January 2010 earthquake, the Navy Hospital ship USNS Comfort accepted more than 250 patients.  With 12 operating rooms, 1,000 beds and several intensive care units, the population doubled again only a few days later. “There was a huge need for a comprehensive medical facility to treat what was mostly crush injuries, as the country’s main hospital had been destroyed”  notes Mark Marino, MSN, BSN.

As the chief nursing officer on the ship, Marino also saw the need for basics after the complete devastation in the country. “Everything was gone, buried and destroyed,” he recalls. “People needed water, clothes, and especially something to protect their feet as they walked through rubble.”

Marino sent his mother an email asking for help and relief agencies also began bringing donations to aid in recovery.  “Pallets of boxes started arriving, and they had everything – clothes, shoes, blankets. People from all over the U.S. started sending things.”  Marino found a clinical use for a pretty pair of sandals. “One little girl had a leg injury and she wouldn’t walk even though she needed to.  I told her we save pretty shoes for little girls who can walk.  It was the motivation she needed.  She put on the little pink sandals and started her rehab.”

These days Marino motivates nurses to focus on reducing injuries and infections for patients and Hospital Center employees.  He consults with patients, talks with their families, nurses and physicians to make certain everyone understands the steps needed to reduce infections and prevent injuries.  As a clinical specialist, he works on staff safety initiatives and heads a committee involved with promoting safety for everyone. “The Hospital Center has committed these resources to our patients and staff, investing in safety and mitigating risk,” he says. “It shows our extraordinary dedication to patients and staff and our promise to provide excellent and safe care.”

 

Learn more about our celebrated nurses at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

I-Am-Nursing-Metro-Poster_Final_Set-4

I-Am-Nursing-Metro-Poster_Final_Set-2

I-Am-Nursing-Metro-Poster_Final_Set-1

Have any questions?

We are here to help! If you have any questions about nursing at MedStar Washington Hospital Center visit our nursing career page here or contact Human Resources at 202-877-7441.

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