Alumna awarded gold medal for nursing excellence in Texas

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A UST nursing graduate was one of the six awardees who received the highest recognition for outstanding nurses in Excellence in Nursing (EIN) Awards by the Good Samaritan Foundation last Sept. 5 in Houston, Texas.

Jennifer Luna, who graduated in 1995, was the sole recipient
of the gold medal award for
the Clinical Nursing Education category.

“I am very grateful to rep- resent the Philippines through the gold medal award for clinical excellence,” Luna told the Varsi- tarian.

“I felt honored and at the same time challenged to keep excelling and innovating.”

In 2000, Luna migrated to the United States, where she obtained a masters’ degree in nursing and an MBA in Healthcare Adminis- tration in University of Phoenix in Arizona.

She was then working as
an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse for the Critical Care Unit (CCU) in Houston Methodist Hospital.

She is now pursuing her doc- torate in nursing at the University of Texas.

Luna now has three Amer- ican Board of Nursing specialty certifications: CCRN-K (Critical Care), CVRN-BC (American Board of Cardiology), and RN-BC (Nursing Professional Develop- ment).

Luna took the position of being a full time nursing pro- fessional development specialist or nurse educator in Houston Methodist Hospital, as well as an evidence-based practice mentor. She is also a Magnet Program Ambassador, a distinction of ex- cellence in healthcare in the same hospital.

“The nursing profession is one of the most trusted profes- sionals in the world.” she said. “I realized that our most vulnerable patients are counting on our expertise so being a nurse is a serious responsibility,”

Becoming a nurse

Luna pursued nursing, inspired with how ICU nurses at-

tendant to her grandmother who was then suffering from multi-or- gan failure.

“I would often go back to this story as to why I chose to be an ICU nurse. I fell in love with ICU nursing,” she said.

Having a mother who is also a nurse was also a big influence.

“Growing up, seeing my mother take care of us, had entrenched in me that there is tremendous value in being a clinical expert through nursing excellence, whether you are in a hospital environment or even at your very own home,” she said.

In UST, Luna saw the strug- gles of poor patients in the charity ward and in medical missions.

“It strengthened my passion to deliver unparalleled care through nursing knowledge, skills, and in- novation from then on,” she said.

“I realized that our most vul- nerable patients are counting on our expertise so being a nurse is a serious responsibility.”

Luna started her career in the Philippines as an industrial health nurse at Fujitsu Computers Cor- poration, before moving to the Makati Medical Center as a nurse for the Critical Care Unit.

During her stay, Luna trained in general medical-surgical ICU and moved up to managing post open-heart surgery ICU patients before transferring to Houston, Texas in November 2000.

“If you embody integrity and competence, everyone will start to trust you. One day, it may be their own life that they are fully entrusting in your care, so it is crucial to live by these values every day,” she added.

After all the achievements, Luna believes that success is not about getting accolades or earning money, but a relentless discovery to keep innovating and discover- ing new opportunities and solu- tions in everyday challenges.

“I am very honored to provide unparalleled clinical expertise as a nursing professional development specialist,” Luna said. “The recog- nition humbles me.”

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