Vanessa Figueroa

My Proud Story...

I was already enrolled in the School of Nursing when I started working for St. Luke’s in 2004. Knowing that I was a nursing student, the staff took me under their wings and I was welcomed with open arms. Everyone included me in tons of teaching opportunities that prepared me to be a better student and a more knowledgeable nurse. I graduated as a very proud St. Luke's School of Nursing graduate and gratefully accepted a position on a neuroscience unit after passing my boards. Over the next handful of years I advanced and gained a great deal of confidence, knowledge and leadership skills from my fellow colleagues and upper management. I bonded with many families and was touched by the handwritten letters they would send expressing their gratitude. I saved each and every one of those letters and will, from time to time, re-read them.

There is one specific letter from a family of a gentleman who had a stroke and eventually, after many ups and downs, passed away from complications of that stroke in 2008. The letter is four pages long and describes the amazing life this gentleman lead. There is a particular paragraph that says "The nurses at St. Luke's all knew him and grew attached to him. They stopped by to check on him all the time and to wave to him as they went by to another patient's room. They gave him wonderful care." At the end there is another heartfelt sentence directed to St. Luke's Hospital, the ICU, NW5 and hospice that states "The care, the warmth, and the incredible things you do for your patients have us in awe of your great responsibilities and your great compassion. We thank each of you for making his final days comfortable and warm." This letter has been on my fridge since the day I received it and to this day will still bring a tear to my eye knowing how comfortable and pleased the gentleman AND the family were with their care while in our hands.

Eventually and reluctantly, I left St. Luke's to become a travel nurse so I could broaden my skills as a nurse in a few different specialties and hospital settings. Now, after about 6 years away, I am so proud to say that I am back. The very first day I walked through the hospital I ran into old colleagues and friends who welcomed me back with open arms. I am deeply humbled that so many employees recognize and remember me like I had only been gone for a day. I really and truthfully feel like I have never left. The patients are still love with calling St. Luke's “their hospital” and the staff are all still happy to be a part of the St. Luke's family. And that is exactly what it's like working here - one giant compassionate family working together to provide the best healthcare we can offer and to make a lasting difference in our communities. No stone gets left unturned at St. Luke's and I deeply missed this professional, comprehensive and compassionate atmosphere. I can say with great confidence that of all the hospitals I have worked for, this is by far the best.

I am proud when I tell friends and family that I am a St. Luke's grad and that I’ve rejoined the St. Luke's staff.

Vanessa Figueroa
RN, Bethlehem Campus, ASC
Hired in 2016