Karla Fuentes-Castillo has been a nurse at United Hospice since October 2019. We are recognizing Karla as one of UH’s frontline heroes during National Nurses Week because she immediately responded to the call to work with COVID-19 patients.
Karla has been a nurse for six years. Prior to joining United Hospice, Karla worked in the Oncology department at Memorial Sloane Kettering in New York City. She was inspired to become a nurse by one of her siblings, who today is a biomedical engineer.
Her decision to become a hospice nurse came from her desire to help patients and families in a holistic way.
“I always loved to help others feel better,“ Karla said. “I feel that it is necessary to educate and help to empower patients and their loved ones during such a critical time in their lives. It is also a privilege to do this in my own community.”
Like all of our nurses and other care professionals, the COVID-19 pandemic has been quite a challenge, especially the precautions against human contact.
“Even though words have power, it is not the same as placing my hand on someone’s shoulder. Now I consciously must find different ways and be more attentive to the way I provide care,” Karla added. “At the same time, I act as a role model when it comes to safe guidelines for patients and their loved ones.”
On a personal level, Karla shares many of the fears of those in her profession. To calm these fears, Karla said she focuses on different aspects that she can control, such as using personal protective equipment (PPE), going the extra mile to find stores with automatic doors, and educating herself and others to use different social media platforms.
Also, Karla tries to be mindful, finding ways to enjoy nature and decompress, recognizing that in order to provide care, she must make sure she cares for herself.