Maria Davila RN is a nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We sat down with Maria to talk about her experiences.
"In the NICU I could use my high technical nursing skills, as well as assist families in learning more about their newborn. Although the babies were quite sick, I always found something cheerful about them. My joy is when I make the families smile and find something positive with their outcome."
What inspired you to be a nurse?
I feel my parents were a major influence my decision to go into nursing. My father was a minister, so our household was always in some way helping others. I started out being an elementary school teacher, teaching English as a second language in Puerto Rico. Somehow I did not feel fulfilled in my life. So I moved home and decided that nursing was my third career. I went into it gradually, by starting out as a nurse's assistant, than into a diploma program of nursing. Eventually received my BSN, and entered the military life, in the USAF.
How did you end up with a specialty in Neonatal Nursing?
My nursing career started in the USAF. I guess MASH affected me in that I wanted to care for wounded soldiers, and instead ended in caring for soldiers with wombs. I specialized in Maternal-Child nursing. I truely enjoyed labor and delivery, cheering and caring for the mother's as they prepared for birth and motherhood. Upon completing my military commitment, I went into the civilian world and worked in L & D, I eventually found my way into the NICU where I could continue working with families. In the NICU I could use my high technical nursing skills, as well as assist families in learning more about their newborn. Although the babies were quite sick, I always found something cheerful about them. My joy is when I make the families smile and find something positive with their outcome.
What keeps you inspired and energized everyday?
What keeps in inspired is the constant change in the medical field and the diversity in patients. I recall when I started in Maternal-Child nursing, and the advancement in medicine is amazing. I am an active member of the Multi-Cultural nurse forum and enjoy working with diversity. It makes me feel good when going to work, they state that this family is a good mix for me. What keeps me energized is when patients return to visit and ask for me by name. Especially if I can see the improvement in their condition. It feels good to be a part of their life and that I made a difference. I try to keep a positive and cheerful demeanor and use my humor as medicine. I like being part of the new advancement in treatments of these complex diseases.
Tell us about your Infantesano Project.
One of my philosophy in life is "pass it on", so when I was approached to be a part of an organization, called Infantesano, which means "healthy infant", it caught my attention. Being Spanish speaking and to help low birth weight infants in the Dominican Republic, I was on board.
Dr. Wilson from Martha Elliot Clinic, which caters to the Hispanic population in the Boston area, help start the organization to improve the health and well-being of women and children in under-resourced communities. Their initial focus was healthy mothers during pregnancy to have healthy babies. They transitioned to hospital and needed assistance with teaching nurses to care for small babies. My first visit I learned the challenges these communities had with limited resources. I was able to help empower these nurses. Teaching them the importance of taking and documenting vital signs. They welcomed me and all the knowledge I had to share. I felt that return visits are important to verify commitment to the communities. One of the visits I was able to bring saturation monitors and teach how to use them. It made my day when I was able to see them use it on a small baby, more important the smiles on their faces knowing that I would return again.