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3 Nurses In Scrubs

Caring for our communities

Growing up, the parents of Nichole Silveira, BSN, RN, instilled in her the importance of giving back to their local community through volunteerism. This included volunteer work at a local hospital, so it’s no surprise she chose nursing as her career path and has been dedicated to caring for others for 11 years.

When she joined Kaiser Permanente as the Perioperative Nurse Manager at the Walnut Creek Medical Center, she was excited to learn about the organizations 30-year partnership with Operation Access, which provides surgical and other specialty care to low-income and uninsured adults on Super Saturday Surgery Days, “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to apply my childhood lessons in giving back as a nurse.”

“I had heard about Operation Access happening in Walnut Creek in years prior, so I was eager to work with the team to bring it back in 2023,” said Silveira. “Partnering with Florinda Nicolas, BSN, RN First Assistant, we recruited medical center volunteers to pull-off two Super Saturday Surgery Days in Walnut Creek this year.”

Their efforts benefited Yolanda Trujillo, who had trouble lifting her 3-year-old daughter because of a painful hernia. It was repaired with a free surgery, and she said of the experience, “I’ve had great service, and I’ve been treated well by very good people.”

Walnut Creek was among 17 medical centers and ambulatory surgery units around the Bay Area to hold the surgery day events this year, including Antioch, Dublin, Fremont, Martinez, Oakland, Petaluma, Redwood City, Richmond, San Francisco, San Leandro, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, South San Francisco, Union City, Vallejo, and Vacaville.

“I love being able to help my community and share my knowledge,” said Nicolas, who first volunteered with Operation Access in 2014, and has since participated at various medical centers. ”I find joy knowing I’m making an impact on the patients I’ve helped over the years, and seeing how they’ve recovered from medical issues that made their lives difficult.”

With hundreds of nurses and interdisciplinary team members volunteering their time this year, nearly 800 surgical and specialty care procedures were provided such as hernia repairs, gallbladder removal, eye surgery, head and neck surgery, and colonoscopies.

“I am so proud of our organization for continuing with this program for those in our communities that normally would not have access to health care and are in need of life-saving surgeries,” said Pavna C. Sloan, DNP, RN, RNC-OB, NEA-BC, East Bay Chief Nurse Executive. “The patients are eternally grateful, and the volunteers are surrounded by others who also enjoy giving back.”

Volunteering with Operation Access is so rewarding shares Regina Obiajulu, MSN, RN, PHN, Assistant Nurse Manager in Perioperative Services at the Oakland Medical Center. “It makes us feel good that we are doing our duty to humanity, but what’s even better is knowing that we are able to improve the quality of life for the patient so that they can get back to work, and be able to provide for their family.”

“The people of Kaiser Permanente have an amazing heart to do this work,” Obiajulu added.

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