Wyoming is fortunate to have many skilled, compassionate nurses. This year, we honor three who have exceeded expectations in their field, as described by the people who took the time to nominate them.
JENNIFER GALLAGHER — RN — Wyoming Medical Center
Family: Two wonderful sons who are 13 and 17 years old
City of residence: Was born in Casper at Wyoming Medical Center. We moved around a lot because my dad was general contractor, but I finished high school here. This is definitely my hometown.
How long have you been a nurse? I will have been a nurse for 18 years next year.
How long have you been at your current role? I’ve been a labor delivery nurse 15 years and clinical educator for 3 years. I’ve worked at the hospital 25 years, I started in the kitchen.
How did you decide to become a nurse? God told me that’s what I needed to do. I definitely give all the credit to God. He put me on that path and that’s where I’m at.
What’s the hardest part of your job? The very most difficult thing I do is to watch a parent grieve the loss of a child. No matter the age or the cause, it never gets easier. For every delivery I have attend that involves a loss, I pray with them and for them, I cry with them. It is very real for everyone involved. With nursing in general, the difficult part is feeling stretched too thin, not being able to give the patients the attention they deserve. Taking care of people, that’s what people go into health care for.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Bringing new babies, new life into the world every day. After 15 years I still get excited. Sometimes we worry the novelty will wear off, but it doesn’t.
What’s next for you? Short term, be the best I can be. Long term, start my masters degree. I have a huge interest in the legal aspect of nursing. As a clinical educator I focus on teaching nurses. If they’re successful, then I feel like I’m successful.
What advice would you give someone pursuing a career in nursing? Do it. Go. If there is a desire to do it, then do it. For anybody who is thinking about doing that, I’d say absolutely follow that dream. God puts us there for a reason, and if they feel that calling then they need to pursue it.
Nomination: Jen has been a WMC employee for 25 years. She has been instrumental in getting our labor and delivery OR up and running, making it so that we can keep moms and babies together during the entire procedure and through recovery. She has put together the education for all the labor and delivery staff to be competent in circulating in the OR and caring for patients in our PACU. She also is an excellent labor nurse, always encouraging and kind to every patient. ... She is passionate about making our labor and delivery unit the place that any mother would come to deliver her baby with confidence that she will be cared for safely and compassionately.
— Monica Money
SARITA REEVES-MIRAMONTES – RN at The Birth Place – Wyoming Medical Center
Family: My husband and I have four boys.
City of residence: I live in Casper. It was my childhood home until seventh grade and then I went to Tucson.
How long have you been a nurse? I graduated in school in 2009. I was in the Army from 2000 to 2004, so I was in for 9/11. I was a 91B; back then it was a combat medic.
How long have you been at your current role? Goodness, it’s been short! I got there in October of 2014.
How did you decide to become a nurse? I just always knew that I loved helping people. My mom was like the nurse of our family — she was always taking care of people. My stepmom was a nurse and I went to work with her and watched her. This job is just unbelievable.
What’s the hardest part of your job? It’s scary. Sometimes you have babies and mommas that have complications or are sick and you try to figure how to take care of them. It’s pretty intimidating.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Just to be there to witness parents meeting their child for the first time. It’s unbelievable, just to see life come into this world.
What’s next for you? More babies. I want to get better at my job and witness more babies coming into this world. I can’t imagine doing anything different.
What advice would you give someone pursuing a career in nursing? Just to make sure you’re passionate about it. To be in nursing you have to love what you do.
Nomination: Sarita is one of the most caring people I know, and it flows into her work as a nurse. She cares for everyone equally and treats everyone like she’s known them her whole life. ... When you see Sarita at work she is always holding a hand. It may be new life or old life, that life may be coming or going — Sarita is there to give that life the love and care needed for whatever the moment holds.
— Kristina Gray
RACHELLE DONALDSON, Medical Unit RN, Wyoming Medical Center
Family: Four children, seven grandchildren
City of residence: Casper
How long have you been a nurse?
Working since 2008. I graduated in 2007, so I did this late in life, but I didn’t officially start working until August 2008.
How long have you been at your current role?
How did you decide to become a nurse?
I used to do medical transcription, and that triggered an interest. But the way life played out, after I got divorced, I looked into a few different avenues and the doors closed. But I looked into nursing, and the doors opened.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Every shift you come to, you never know what can happen. Sometimes situations will arise that can throw a kink in your entire day. You also get attached to patients and some of them end up with a terminal diagnosis, and you do lose a patient. Even though you know it can happen, it leaves a void.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Patients getting discharged knowing they are feeling better.
What’s next for you?
I’m just going to keep working on medical. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and I’m going to start working on my bachelor’s degree in nursing in June.
What advice would you give someone pursuing a career in nursing?
Be open to changes. Know that when you start, it’s not going to be a set schedule or set pattern. You have to be flexible. There’s a lot of unpredictability throughout the day or night, and don’t beat yourself up when everything didn’t go quite the way you wanted it to go. Sometimes our routine just gets thrown off.
Nomination: Rachelle is that nurse that you always hope to have. She has a quiet confidence, gentle touch and witty sense of humor. ... She strives to care for her patients as if she is caring for her own family. She is always attentive to their needs as well as the needs and concerns of the family members.
— R Tuttle