The American Nurses Assn. has designated May 6 through 12 "National Nurses Week," and as the week closes, the News-Press is highlighting the work of nurses for their work at three Glendale hospitals.
May 12 is also the birthday of British nurse Florence Nightingale, a pioneer of modern nursing.
Brian Gold, director of perioperative services at Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital, has been a nurse for more than 20 years and said he always saw himself in the operating room, even as a little kid. It helped that his father was a surgical resident at one time and left a set of medical retractors in the kitchen for Gold to experiment with.
"There is nothing more thrilling and rewarding than taking care of someone when they can't take care of themselves," Gold said.
Glendale Memorial recruited Gold about five years ago when he was director of surgery at Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital. While there he also acted as a scrub nurse for many of the total joint replacements that came through the hospital — many of the patients were celebrities and athletes.
At Glendale Memorial, Gold is responsible for patient quality and assuring that everyone else in the operating room — surgeon, nurses, surgical techs and anesthesiologist — is taken care of.
"[Nurses] interact with patients at the worst part of their lives," Gold said. "A nurse's ability to asses someone is focused on the entire body. It's philosophically different than pure medicine in terms of approach — not just dealing with disease but dealing with the person."
Melissa Stehlin has spent nearly 27 years in obstetrics and has been on staff at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital for 17 years, most recently, as director of perinatal services.
Stehlin worked for a home health agency when she first moved moved to California from Florida, and, at the advice from nurses during a visit to Verdugo Hills, she applied to the Glendale hospital.
"I love the atmosphere and warmth of the community field, and that's what drew me in," Stehlin said.
Honored with several distinctions over her career, Stehlin said her biggest accomplishment was when she became director of perinatal services in 2013.
As a labor and delivery nurse, Stehlin says she's had the privilege of bringing in "beautiful miracles everyday" but now she enjoys her role overseeing the perinatal side of the hospital. Since perinatal services triage patients, perform surgeries and deliver babies, Stehlin considers her unit a whole hospital condensed into a small package.
"I want to make the best day out of somebody's most wonderful moment," Stehlin said.
Irvin Cabana's first and only job as a nurse since graduation has been with Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Although not as seasoned as the previous two nurses — he'll hit nine years in October — Cabana has already done well enough to fill in as critical care nurse manager during the past several months.
He's since returned to his regular role as Surgical Intensive Care Unit charge nurse and it's a position he's wanted since nursing school. Cabana started in telemetry and used it as a stepping stone into the emergency room.
Cabana has worked at all critical care units at the hospital and currently takes care of patients with neurological afflictions, such as those who suffered a stroke, head injury and postoperative heart patients, many of whom, he says, make an appreciative visit to the hospital every so often.
"To me nursing is a calling because if you don't go into it with full dedication it will be very hard," Cabana said. "It's hard in general but to just give somebody a second chance is just amazing."