Today marks the first day of National Nurses Week, a weeklong celebration that culminates on Florence Nightingale’s birthday, May 12th. We will be running a blog series where you’ll get to know a few of our nurses who are at the heart of every aspect of patient care at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS). In our first installment, meet Jennamarie Castro.
- Can you tell us your name, unit, and how many years you’ve worked at HSS?
My name is Jennamarie Castro MSN, RN, CNOR. I currently work as a Clinical Education Specialist of Perioperative Services in the office of professional development for a little over a year and a half. Previously, I was a part of the nurse residency group for the operating room, which started January of 2010. In total I have been employed by HSS for 6 years and three months.
- What does it mean for you to be a nurse?
To me, being a nurse is not just what I do, but rather it is who I am. Nursing means caring for individuals whom you may have never met before as if they were members of your immediate family. Nursing means focusing on a patient holistically with their optimal level of wellness in mind. In my new role as an education specialist, nursing means to teach the new nurse orientees how to provide excellent care to our patients as well as to foster the development of the caring and compassion necessary to maintain our esteemed Magnet designation.
- What drove you to pursue a career in nursing?
I come from a single parent household; my mom always did her very best to provide for us. Often it was hard and she was very tired- she was a waitress and often worked double shifts. When she took me toy shopping I remember picking up a medical kit hoping that I would make my mom feel better when she would come home from work with swollen feet. When she came home from her next double shift, I ran to get my kit and said, “I am your doctor and I am going to make you all better!” I will never forget what she said to me at that moment; she said, “You have the brain of a doctor, but the heart of a nurse.” From that moment I stopped referring to myself as a doctor. I knew I wanted to positively affect change in other people’s lives. I knew I was born to be a nurse.
- Why do you love being a nurse at HSS?
I have been at HSS for my entire career and God willing; I will remain here for as long as I am able to work. HSS was my first nursing job. I stated as a nurse resident, and became a nurse in the operating room for almost 5 years. Through tuition reimbursement, I was able to go back to school and obtain my Master’s degree. I was engaged, married, and had my first child while employed at HSS. I then applied and got accepted to be a Clinical Education Specialist of the very operating rooms I grew up in. I have made long lasting friendships with people from every discipline and am proud to be a nurse at the number one orthopedic hospital in the nation. I am honored every day that I could be a part of the restoration of mobility to countless numbers of patients. The comradery and support of the professional development team as well as my operating room staff makes me feel blessed in many ways to be here. HSS has been, and always will be, my home away from home.
- Can you give us a fun fact about being a nurse?
Operating room attire was originally white to represent cleanliness, but in the 1960’s the color scheme was changed to either blue or green because the surgeons complained of eye strain from looking at the bright white scrubs all day.
A fun fact about my nursing career: Patients say the craziest things while waking up from anesthesia. Often, they’ll ask me if they died during the surgery and if I were an angel!