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  • 30 year nursing career includes many roles, but always focuses on quality patient care

    National Nurses Week has special meaning to Dawn Bereza, RN, BSN, this year as she celebrates 30 years of service at Rome Memorial Hospital (RMH). RMH has 278 nurses who will be honored during Nurses Week for the inspiring, innovating, and influencing work they do every day.
    Bereza said she went into nursing because her mother was a nurse and she wanted to follow in her footsteps, but she found that nursing provided her not only a long career, but also with the satisfaction of knowing her life’s work has made a difference in many people’s lives.
    In 1988, Bereza completed her associate’s degree to become a Registered Nurse from St. Elizabeth School of Nursing and then later received a bachelor of science degree in Nursing from SUNY IT.
    “I had started working at Rome Memorial Hospital as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) then continued as a RN graduate nurse,” Bereza said. “In the beginning, I thought I would only work here one year to get some experience, but I have loved this hospital and the people I have worked with through the years so much that I never left.”
    Bereza began her career as a staff nurse in the medical/surgical unit of the hospital, a position she enjoyed very much because she got to provide bedside care and spend time with patients.
    “The thing I love most about being a nurse is working with patients and helping them when they really need to be cared for,” Bereza said. “It is so nice getting to know patients and their families while they are in the hospital. It becomes like caring for a good friend.”
    As her nursing career progressed, Bereza went on to become a unit nurse manager.
    “Although as nurse manager I did not spend as much time dealing directly with patients, I did work with the other nurses to assure that the entire staff maintained the highest levels of patient care,” she said. “I have worked with so many wonderful nurses and other clinical staff, there truly is a family feeling among the staff here.”
    For the past several years, Bereza has served as a utilization management specialist at the hospital. In this position, she uses her years of nursing experience in a different way by reviewing a patient’s medical record for documentation of diagnoses and procedures, signs, symptoms, orders, and plan of care to determine how their treatment will be delivered and the appropriateness of the health care setting. Although a vital position in assuring patients received the appropriate, quality care, Bereza said she missed being able to work one-on-one with patients.
    “I was able to come full circle and get back to working bedside when I began working as a Continuum of Care Registered Nurse Case Manager,” Bereza said. “In this position, I am an advocate for the patient and coordinate care with all departments of the hospital, as well as with outside agencies and physicians. Communication is the real key to being able to deliver the best care options for our patients, and we work hard to assure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to patient care.”
    Throughout her 30 year career at Rome Memorial Hospital, Bereza has worn many hats but her main objective has remained to provide the best quality care with compassion.
    “I feel like nurses are the heart of the hospital,” Bereza said. “We are there to provide medical treatment, of course, but we also provide a hand to hold when things are difficult and an ear to listen to our patients concerns. We have the time to get to know our patients a bit more which allows us to have that unique patient/nurse relationship. For me, that is the part of my job that I love the most and what has made 30 years of nursing such a joy.”
     

     Dawn Bereza 
    30 YEARS OF NURSING - Dawn Bereza, RN, BSN,
     is celebrating her 30th year of nursing this month and
     is one of the nearly 300 nurses employed at
    Rome Memorial Hospital whose inspiring, innovating,
     and influencing work will be celebrated during
     National Nurses Week, May 6-12.