Alondra, R.N., OCN, is honored and proud of the many patients with whom she's bonded and come to care for on Memorial Hospital's second floor, devoted to medical oncology. "We have patients that spend weeks and sometimes months here, and as a nursing team, we become part of their families," says Alondra, who's been a member of the Memorial team for nine years.
Growing up, Alondra always felt called to medicine. As a little girl, she wanted to be a pediatrician. But that changed when she met a nurse who was herself living with cancer. This nurse noticed Alondra's compassion and deep commitment to patient care and told her, "This is where you need to be." Alondra was almost finished with nursing school when a doctor came to her and repeated those words. The doctor then asked her to work in her oncology clinic. "It was as if all of the doors opened for me to become an oncology nurse. When it happened, I knew this is where I belong," Alondra says.
Alondra says she loves her job because it gives her an opportunity to dedicate herself to the things she most enjoys: providing compassionate patient care, educating her patients and their families about the diagnosis, and offering emotional and spiritual support to people in what can be a difficult time. "Nursing requires compassion, trust, a willingness and ability to listen-and sometimes it requires humor. Doors open where we're meant to be. That's what happened to me, and that's how I know that I'm meant to be here," she says.
Alondra is married with three daughters, ages 15, 9 and 9 months. She loves to read biographies that include crime and mystery; on television she enjoys Law and Order and CSI. But she doesn't spend all of her free time reading or watching TV. In fact, most of her favorite activities involve a high level of energy. "I like to be active. My favorite exercise classes blend yoga, pilates and tai chi. I also love to go horseback riding with my daughters. We live on a small farm where we have just about every kind of animal you can imagine in addition to our seasonal vegetable garden. It's fantastic for the girls because it teaches them so much about the cycle of life," she says.
"Working at Memorial has given me so many opportunities for personal and professional growth. I started here as a unit secretary while I was still in nursing school and now serve as the Nurse Manager for the Medical/Oncology department." She is currently working on her master's degree in oncology nursing and one day hopes to serve oncology patients as a nurse practitioner. "Whatever I do, I know I'll be valued and supported," she says.
"I also really appreciate the diversity here, from housekeepers to care givers to nurses. I see it in every area every day. This is important to me because we serve a diverse community," she says. "In the Latino community many people don't go to the doctor. There are a variety of barriers beyond financial resources and a language barrier. They listen to me. I like getting personally involved in patient and family education, sharing with them the importance of preventative medicine before they get sick."