GIFTED Spotlight: Kristen Montero, RN

Happy Nurses Week! To celebrate, GIFTED Healthcare is spotlighting five of our incredible and inspiring nurses. Read on to check out today’s spotlight, Kristen Montero, PICU RN, from Canter, Louisiana.   

Helping Beyond the Patient 

Kristen has been with GIFTED Healthcare since 2019, working in three different hospitals and on four different units, and working in the PICU has been her favorite experience throughout her nursing career.  

In the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Kristen is there not only putting the patients first but also putting the patients’ families top of mind.  

“A lot of my friends and family say they don’t know how I work in the PICU, but I feel like it is the most rewarding thing besides being a mother myself. When I am headed to my car after a shift, I am thinking about all that I was able to do to help a family and their child get through one of the hardest parts of their lives,” said Kristen. “I feel selfish even sometimes, with how rewarding and fulfilling this work is.” 

Patients can be in the PICU for a variety of reasons, some for an asthma exacerbation and their stay is just a few days, but the majority of Kristen’s patients have an acute illness and are on a ventilator being monitored closely for weeks at a time.   

“I get to build relationships with these families over their stay, and when the patients’ parents turn to me and trust me to take care of their sick child and actually get enough to sleep at night, I am reminded this is exactly what I am meant to do with my life.” 

“And the kids, they just continuously amaze me. You think they would be harder to work with, but a lot of times they are tougher than adult patients.” 

Night Shift Nurses  

As a night shift nurse, Kristen has had to find a routine and little tricks that help her get through the late-night hours. Comradery is one thing that seems to always work for Kristen and her nurse teammates.   

“Being a part of a big team helps each other get through the night,” said Kristen. “I will sit at the nurses’ station for a few minutes in between patients, get a couple of giggles in, and I am reenergized.” 

“That’s why I think the ideal quality of a nurse is teamwork. I don’t think anyone can do their job entirely by themselves in this field. A good nurse also has a kind heart – you can’t pay anyone enough money to put their heart into nursing like we all do.” 

“Me Days”  

The part of nursing that often gets forgotten is taking care of yourself when needed so that as a nurse, you can show up for your patients at your best. In such a selfless role, Kristen has found that having “me days” every now and then help her cope with the stress that comes with her job. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristen prioritized her time to herself in order to help her own mental health.  

“It has been a struggle. I have had severe anxiety and PTSD from what we went through on duty during the pandemic. Coming home and decompressing to my partner took a lot of the weight off my chest – moving on and leaving it right there rather than carrying it around for days,” said Kristen. “I also try to get a massage every couple of months and make a day of it with a coffee and maybe shop around. I need that time to leave everything at the hospital.” 

What’s Next? 

Kristen has loved her time with GIFTED Healthcare and is excited to continue working with the GIFTED family and her PICU patients in her next assignment!  

Celebrate Nurses Week with GIFTED  

Clinicians make a difference, and we want to celebrate their strength during the month of May. GIFTED Healthcare is highlighting the strength of our clinicians and the difference they make every day on our blog and social channels.  

GIFTED is also giving away $3,000 to celebrate these clinicians. Learn more about how you could win this Nurses Week.  

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