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Diana Rivera, Resource Charge Nurse, NP 15

As a Resource Charge Nurse on the 15th floor of Smilow, a surgical oncology floor comprised of five different surgical services ENT, endocrine, GI, urology, and plastics, Diana Rivera manages a team of seven nurses, 3-4 patient care assistants, and a secretary. Her shifts are usually spent coordinating admissions and discharges, collaboration with bed management, patient care coordination, and daily transitional patient care rounds at 1:30 p.m. While most of the population on the 15th floor is recovering from cancer surgery, Diana is also available to help patients and their families navigate through any problems they encounter and facilitate solutions during an otherwise stressful time.

Nearly nine years ago, Diana joined Yale New Haven Hospital when Smilow was under construction. She started as a Clinical Nurse and worked her way up the clinical ladder to Registered Clinical Nurse III, and then to her current position. In January, she will serve as co-chair of the Coordinating Council for Nursing Shared Governance, where she will work with the chair two days a week to help implement practice changes requested by bedside nurses. These practice changes help positively impact patient care and outcomes as well as streamline evidenced-based nursing care across YNHH and the health system. She is excited for the learning opportunity and exposure to hospital leadership.

Interacting with leadership is a unique growth opportunity, but day-to-day, Diana may learn the most from the oncology patients on her floor.

In nursing school, Diana realized she had a love for oncology and recognized that it was a special patient population. Whenever she is asked about her job, she usually hears in response, "Oh, that must be really sad." But for Diana, interacting with patients and their families and guiding them through a difficult time is rewarding.

"It's not just what you do for your patients, it's what they do for you," she explains. "Seeing their fight until they are cancer free or until their fight ends, it is what helps you get through; they touch your life. Patients don't realize what they give to their care workers."

While most of the patients Diana interacts with are adults, she is seeing more and more younger patients each day. And while it does force you to put your own life in perspective, she says nothing is more rewarding than when a patient comes back to visit and is cancer free and grateful for the positive impact you made in their life.