PreCheck Celebrates National Nurses Week 2021 with Erika Miramontes
This year, during National Nurses Week—an annual event celebrated on May 6-12 to honor the late Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing—industry leaders extended the 2020 theme “Year of the Nurse” into 2021. This recognition builds on the increased visibility of nurses’ contributions from last year as they continue to be at the forefront of battling COVID-19.
In celebration of this event, we’re sharing the story of Erika Miramontes, a Registered Nurse at Medical City McKinney in McKinney, TX. Erika recounts her journey toward nursing and shares her passion for the healthcare profession.
Here’s what she had to say.
1. What do you love most about nursing?
One of the most rewarding aspects of nursing is the ability to establish personal connections with your patients. Regardless of how long it’s been, a patient remembers their nurse. They may not always remember your name, but they do remember your kindness and compassion and how you made them feel during their most vulnerable moments.
2. What made you decide to pursue a career in nursing?
I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in the medical field. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a strong passion to help others. In high school, I had the opportunity to explore programs in health sciences. This allowed me to confirm my interest in the field. Knowing that I can make a difference in people’s lives by helping patients and their families during difficult times is extremely rewarding.
3. How has the nursing profession changed you as a person?
I’ve learned how to manage my emotions and be prepared to respond in the most dire situations. Also, when you witness loss or see people survive some of the most unimaginable circumstances, you naturally view life through a different lens—and for that, I will always be grateful. Most people never have to witness these things. While I’m sympathetic for these families, these experiences have helped me realize that my family is my top priority.
4. What is your best advice for nursing graduates starting their career?
In nursing, you just have to follow your passion and remain true to yourself. Remember the importance of empathy and compassion, especially in the most stressful situations. Never stop learning, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
5. Have you always worked within the same environment in nursing?
While in nursing school, I worked as a patient care technician/nurse extern in various units of the hospital. I’ve also had the opportunity to work in the progressive care unit, medical/surgical, day surgery, intensive care unit, and the emergency department. Throughout my experiences, I was able to navigate through different areas of the field and determine which path I wanted to follow. I am currently taking additional courses to be a Certified Nurse Anesthetist.
6. How has the nursing profession changed over the past years?
Nursing has evolved over the years to help improve the efficiency of care. There are more training programs, updated hospitals, greater responsibilities, a better sense of family, and a continued focus on patient safety and care. Nursing continues to save lives and create generations of dedicated medical professionals.
7. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, how do you think it will shape the future of nursing?
The virus has presented a unique threat to healthcare professionals. Hospitals and healthcare facilities had to respond swiftly and innovatively. Nurses played a leading role in public safety by educating their patients and community on the importance of developing healthy habits such as frequent handwashing and mask-wearing. With the effects of COVID-19 moving through 2021 and possibly even through 2022, we will continue to see the strength and resiliency of our nurses and their ability to adapt to even the most challenging circumstances.
8. What do you believe is the largest misconception about nursing?
A large misconception about nursing is that nurses are just doctors’ helpers who distribute medication and clean up after patients. Nurses have an ethical responsibility to do what is best for their patients; it is ultimately their call on how to proceed. Nurses diagnose and treat patients every day by administering tests and giving lifesaving care. Nurses are also generally in charge of patient advocacy and education. We must ensure patients have the important information and tools to care for themselves after being discharged from the hospital or medical center.
9. What is it like being a nurse at Medical City McKinney?
I love that our work is embedded into our culture. We have a meaningful impact in our communities and are afforded opportunities for growth. And above all, I am part of a team that is committed to the care and betterment of human life.
10. Studies show that there is an increasing shortage of nurses in the U.S.; what would you say to those who are considering nursing as their career?
The nursing shortage will continue to expand job opportunities. The dire need for nurses will result in high employability. Also, this profession provides diverse areas of opportunities, so you’re not restricted to just a hospital setting, for example. Ultimately, the sky is the limit!
Whether you’re a nursing veteran or new to the field, we hope Erika’s story reminds you of why you took that initial step toward nursing and continues to inspire you to spread that passion to others.
We’d like to also send our gratitude to all the healthcare professionals around the world who are on the frontlines every day battling the coronavirus. Not only are you saving lives, but you are also providing hope for everyone who’s been impacted by this deadly disease. You are, and will always be, our heroes.