Crystal Gambardella, BSN, RN IV, CPN, a charge nurse at Bon Secours – St. Mary’s Hospital in the pediatric emergency department, has been serving within our ministry for six years.
Over the past few years, Crystal has been helping train nurses as they join our pediatric emergency department team.
“Personally, I had a hard time adapting to the department dynamic after I completed my orientation,” Crystal shares. “I’ve taken many of my own experiences and used them to shape the way I teach each new nurse. I do not shy away from explaining my own mistakes, so that they may learn from them as well.”
Crystal makes each nurse a pocket-sized handbook to help them remember key information needed each day. Each book is unique as Crystal changes little bits based on her own new experiences, the protocols for the department and any anecdotes the team has learned along the way.
“It has been a labor of love, but it’s so rewarding to watch each of these new nurses grow and learn,” she says. “I am very adamant about advocating for each of them and making sure they each have an orientation experience that is catered to their learning style in order to set them up for success.”
In addition to training new nurses, Crystal finds helping her patients to be especially rewarding.
“I enjoy seeing the impact each person on our team has on our patients and their families’ experiences in the emergency department,” she says. “It can be a very stressful and overwhelming experience for everyone, and our team really strives to focus on family-centered care.”
Crystal continues, “seeing the smiles on our kiddos’ faces when they feel better, and the relief we provide to their loved ones truly makes the hard days worth it. My favorite thing about being a nurse is being able to provide comfort and compassionate care to my patients and their families when they need it most.”
Crystal wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember. She wanted to do something to give back to others and that gave her life meaning.
“I was accepted into Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing and graduated in December of 2015,” Crystal reveals. “During my time with the College of Nursing, I was able to spend a day shadowing the nurses in the pediatric emergency department. Seeing how the team worked together that day helped fuel my passion for taking care of children and is what motivated me to pursue a job in this area. Initially, I was told not to get my hopes for a specialty like pediatrics, but when the opportunity arose, I just couldn’t pass it up … six-and-a-half years later, I’m still here!”
Crystal recently received St. Mary’s Hospital’s Clinical RN of the Year Award and shares what it means to her:
“I was truly honored and humbled to receive this award. Receiving this award exemplifies the dedication and enthusiasm I have for the pediatric emergency department, my passion for teaching others and my commitment to improving the care we provide to our patients and their families.”
Read more stories about some of our amazing nurses.