by TERESA SCHIFFER
Sponsored by Central Florida Health Care
National Nurses Week is officially celebrated May 6-12, but if you talk to Tim Ward at Central Florida Health Care, you’d think it is celebrated every day.
“I can brag about our nurses all day long!” he says. “We have some of the most creative and personable nursing staff that I’ve had the pleasure to work with every day.”
In his role as Nurse Manager at the Lakeland Primary Care clinic, Ward works directly with many of these soldiers on the front lines of disease prevention and treatment. He’s familiar with their nursing skills as well as their professional experiences prior to joining the Central Florida Health Care team, and he speaks highly of each and the level of care they provide to patients.
The OB/GYN department is blessed with an experienced team of nurses who are notably empathetic and caring toward the needs of each patient. In addition, two of the six nurses are Spanish-English bilingual, which dramatically increases the staff’s ability to break down barriers. That’s especially important because roughly half of the patients who visit Central Florida Health Care’s Lakeland Primary Care clinic are primarily Spanish speakers.
Ward is pleased to see greater numbers of not just female but also male graduates coming out of the local nursing programs and entering the workforce. While many patients these days express no preference as to the gender of their healthcare practitioners, there are still some who do.
“Some of the more mature male patients would rather talk to a male nurse,” explains Ward, “and some of the more mature female patients are more comfortable with our female nurses.”
Another interesting aspect of the nurses Ward works with is the varied backgrounds they come from. Some have made major career shifts in order to work in healthcare.
“One of my nurses just five years ago was an over-the-road truck driver,” Ward describes. “One of the reasons he stepped out of trucking to enter nursing school was due to being a very supportive single parent. He is a very family-oriented person.”
You’ll find that many of the nurses who work with Central Florida Health Care are hardworking, devoted single parents. They have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders, yet they give their patients the personalized, compassionate care they need to ensure the best possible outcomes for every person they treat.
Ward goes on to explain that one of the nurses was a doctor in Cuba and now works in the OB/GYN clinic as a certified medical assistant. She overcame numerous challenges to leave Cuba and resettle in the U.S., and her evaluation of patients and the input she provides to the clinic physicians are highly valued.
“One of my favorite nurses came from New York where she worked in soup kitchens,” he says. “She’s worked in free clinics and she’s done a little bit of everything before finding her way down here to Florida and now working at Central Florida Health Care.”
It’s impossible to really summarize the diversity represented by the nurses at Central Florida Health Care, as each and every one of them brings their own special set of skills and experiences to contribute to the overall character of the staff.
“It’s truly all about the individual nurse, and their personality, that really makes the patient contact special,” Ward says. “My nurses really love what they do here for Central Florida Health Care. They love what they do and they’re very dedicated to their jobs.”