Reina Valdez, RN, didn’t expected to one day lead a team of nurses as the manager of Labor and Delivery at Lovelace Regional Hospital - Roswell. In fact, she never expected to be a nurse. “After I graduated high school,” she explains, “I became a certified medical assistant. That’s where I started a medical career, but I thought I was certain I didn’t want to be a nurse.”
While Reina knew that she wanted to help patients in the healing process, she initially doubted if that meant becoming a registered nurse. After working at Rio Pecos Medical Associates with Dr. Peterson for three years, she was inspired to start school to be a registered nurse. She joined Lovelace Regional Hospital in 2007 as a certified medical assistant, which led her to become a surgical technologist in the operating room a year later. “Working there, I found that I had an interest in becoming a labor and delivery nurse.”
With her sights set on nursing school, Reina took a Friday thru Sunday schedule to allow her the time to attend classes the remaining days of the week. Following graduation in 2010, her first dream of becoming a labor and delivery nurse was realized. However, Reina admits as a new nurse, she struggled with her decision. “I constantly doubted it, because I didn’t feel that I was doing my job to my full potential,” she shares. “I wanted to make sure that I had made the right choice.”
Then she reflected on what led her to pursue the challenge of juggling a full-time work schedule with full-time class schedule: the patients. “I committed to being present for my patients,” Reina adds of how she reevaluated her perception of taking on a new role and responsibilities. Fear and doubt were replaced by passion. “My love for nursing returned and relit that flame that brought me here in the beginning.”
Working closely with her manager and fellow labor and delivery nurses, Reina gained valuable knowledge and experience in those first years as a registered nurse. Leaders took notice. Reina was selected as a charge nurse, then nurse manager in October of 2016. She continues to take on new challenges and grow in her career. “I have so much to learn as a nurse manager,” she admits. “I knew that by accepting this position that I was going to do my best and excel the best that I could.”
As a leader, Reina calls on her own experience as a nurse and leads by example. “I don’t feel that I’m better than anyone,” she shares. “I will help housekeeping clean a room so that we can help the patient get care faster. My office is 10 steps away from the nurses’ station. If a call light rings, I’ll answer it. If I see that our nurses need help, I’ll take a patient or watch the monitors so that they can take a break.”
When Reina began her career in health care, her goal was to help patients. Given the opportunity and challenge to grow in her career at Lovelace as a nurse manager, Reina not only serves patients, but nurses as well. “When I hear that patients are happy, I feel I’ve done my job well,” she shares. “As a manager, when I hear patients praise their nurse, I know that was a good assignment and I feel we all have accomplished something that day.”
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