We salute ALL Kelsey-Seybold nurses during National Nurses Week, May 6-12

Six Kelsey-Seybold Nurses nominated, three recognized by the Houston Chronicle in ‘Salute to Nurses’ program

A career in nursing isn’t for the faint of heart, and this was especially true in 2020 as the world battled a global pandemic. Nurses are there for us during the milestone moments of our lives, sharing in the joyfulness of new life, the pain of a difficult diagnosis, and the endurance it takes to complete treatment. They even suffer with us when we experience loss.

This last year magnified all these emotions for us and for our patients, and our nurses took them all in stride and continued to deliver the best possible care in a year filled with challenges. It is for this reason we salute ALL Kelsey-Seybold nurses.

In May, many organizations across the country pay tribute to the noble profession of nursing and in Houston, The Houston Chronicle requests submissions for an annual recognition program: Salute to Nurses. Six of our own nurses were nominated by their peers for their outstanding contributions to the field.

Salute to Nurses Nominees

  • Kalen Cassel, M.H.A., B.S.N., R.N., Clinic Administrator, Specialty, Main Campus
  • Hilary Chandler, B.S.N., R.N., O.C.N., C.R.N.I., Nurse Manager, Cancer Services, Main Campus
  • Joelle Melton, B.S.N., R.N., A.M.B.-B.C., Nursing Supervisor, Tanglewood
  • Angel Sargent, R.N., A.D.N., Nursing Supervisor, Spring Medical & Diagnostic Center
  • Patty Silva, R.N., M.S., N.E.-B.C., Nurse Manager, Pulmonary, Main Campus
  • Diana Wilde, R.N., B.S.N., Nurse Manager, Medical Imaging, Main Campus

Hilary and Diana were both recognized by the Houston Chronicle as Top 150 nurses and Patty Silva was named a Top 15 nurse. Get to know Hilary, Diana, and Patty as they share tales from their paths to nursing and their invaluable wisdom.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

Diana: When I was 3 and 4 years old, an aunt was passing away from cancer and I was the only person she would respond to in the hospital. The nurses would tell me that I was going to be a nurse. I also took care of my grandparents when I was little. I was always “the caregiver.” I went to nursing school thinking I would become a well-baby nurse caring for healthy babies in a newborn nursery but ended up doing clinicals at Ben Taub and fell in love with critical care and working in the ICU.

Hilary: I wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I was fascinated with biology and I had many positive experiences with nurses and other healthcare professionals, so nursing was the only career I seriously considered. Nursing is often described as both an art and a science. The art of nursing is using your creativity and your heart to care for others, and the science is using evidence-based practice and clinical skill to support the best possible health outcomes.

Patty: I became a nurse because I never imagined myself in any other career.  I have always cared about people. Nursing taught me the knowledge and skill (science and art) of caring for another person.

Tell me about a defining moment in your career as a nurse?

Patty: My career has been peppered with defining moments!  I’ve worked as a member of the incident command center, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and previous natural disasters. I’ve also worked during staffing shortages, times with very high patient census, and high patient acuity. These unique events do define a part of who I am as a nurse, but I believe it is the daily consistency of patient care that most impacts my competence, confidence, compliance (regulatory), and compassion.

Diana: One of my most defining moments I’ve had as a nurse happened in the late 80s, working in the isolation rooms at Ben Taub where patients who had AIDS were dying. We often don’t realize how important touch is – but reaching out and touching these patients made them emotional. Many hadn’t been touched in months because people were afraid that they would become infected with AIDS. It was a very sad time, but this experience taught me the importance of compassion and empathy for patients at any stage of their health.

Hilary: I’ve had many defining moments as an oncology nurse, some joyful and some bittersweet. One of the moments that solidified my love for oncology nursing was celebrating a patient’s birthday with him and his family in the hospital. He knew it was likely the last birthday he would have with his family, so he wanted to make a special memory with his wife and young daughter. We sang, danced, ate cake, and turned his hospital room into a party. It was an honor to be a part of his special day.

How did the pandemic test your and your nursing teammates’ resiliency?

Hilary: The pandemic has proven to me many times over that nurses are some of the toughest and most adaptable folks on the planet. For my Infusion department specifically, the pandemic has brought on an entire new service line – providing monoclonal antibody infusion treatments to patients with COVID-19. This has meant new policies, procedures, equipment, and an entirely new way of providing infusion therapy. The courage and caring that my team has shown throughout the past year is really inspiring and makes me proud to be a nurse.

Patty: Resiliency is an essential skill for nurses. We work in situations that can often be unpredictable, stressful, traumatic, and tragic, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. These environments require us to be flexible because we must remain professional despite the circumstances. Our ability to remain competent, collaborative, and calm ensures patient safety and promotes patient confidence.

Diana: The pandemic tested our resiliency in many ways – from instituting the tracking of patients and employees who had COVID-19, to developing protocols to protect patients while performing diagnostic services for patients with COVID-19 are just a couple of examples. We realized early on that many of our critically ill patients wouldn’t be able to receive the care they needed at a hospital and instead developed ways to provide that care here. One of the projects we got up and running last summer was the port-placement project for our cancer patients. Typically, these patients had ports placed in-hospital. This experience taught me that, at Kelsey-Seybold, we are able to offer a higher level of acute care than I imagined– none of which would be possible without the help, support, and guidance of our nursing staff.

What advice would you give to a nurse early in their career?

Patty: Be proactive.  Seek educational opportunities, seek new experiences, refine your abilities and be accountable for the trajectory of your knowledge and skills.

Share a ‘Kelsey Kudos’ with a nurse today!

If you work alongside or with a Kelsey-Seybold nurse, or if you have personally received excellent care from one as a patient, take time this week to thank them for all they do. Anyone can send non-monetary recognition through Kelsey Kudos, using the “Tell Them” program. Your personal acknowledgment means so much!

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About Connections
Connections is published on behalf of all Kelsey-Seybold Clinic employees. We welcome your kudos, contributions and comments!