People of KHSC: Vici Del-Mei

News / General

People of KHSC celebrates individuals across the organization who capture the spirit of caring deeply for patients, families and each other

“Nursing is unlike most other jobs. It’s a part of you, you give a lot, and you go through a lot with the people you call your coworkers, friends and family,” says Vici Del-Mei. “It’s going to be difficult, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, to walk away from supporting and connecting with everyone who is a part of this big family.” 

There probably isn’t a perfect time to retire from a career in nursing. However, after 37 years, now is the right time for Vici.

“While the last two years have been some of the toughest years to be in health care, I encourage people to think back on this time as a tremendous learning experience filled with stories about how we pulled together, stepped up, and made sure no one went through this alone.  

“I’ve worked on Medicine units most of my career and the best advice I can give someone entering nursing today is to learn to be good with change, if it doesn’t come naturally to you, and to challenge yourself to always be learning something new. For me, staying flexible and curious has been at the heart of being a nurse and program manager. 

“As a leader, I’ve learned that listening and being truthful go a long way. When people are heard and understand the reality of their situations, they are more willing to accept change and do what needs to be done. 

“My 81-year-old mom was also a nurse and is someone I still go to for career advice. Over the years she has told me numerous times that once I’ve been heard, it’s time to move forward and get to work. Essentially, there aren’t too many things worth fussing about. 

“Nursing is very different than it was when I started. Today, we care for patients who are so much sicker than those hospitalized in the 80s, largely because we now have the technology and skills to provide that higher level of care. I’m constantly amazed by how hard nurses work and am inspired by the knowledge they now have to have to provide compassionate, quality care. 

“Many years ago I received a basket of bath products from a young patient leaving the hospital as a ‘thank you.’ I can’t remember why he was thanking me, what I did specifically to deserve the gift, but I remember his appreciation. That’s nursing, then and now, carrying out our teamwork and at times having profound effects on people’s lives.”

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