For Christina Ramos, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) manager at CCA, being a nurse is not just a job—it’s a lifestyle. She has wanted to be a nurse ever since she was a little girl. “I enjoy caring for others and positively impacting someone’s life during their most vulnerable moments,” Christina says.
“As a nurse, every day you choose to be compassionate, empathetic, and place others first.”
Christina says it can be scary putting others first, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she is committed to caregiving. In fact, the pandemic has only pushed her to work harder when and where she can, especially due to a shortage of frontline workers. To do her part, she picked up weekend hours at a local nursing home and used her CCA training to avoid contracting COVID-19. “I had to be very careful and follow every precaution,” she says.
As a manager at CCA, Christina had to shift how she and her team worked during the pandemic. She worked quickly to transition the LPNs to remote work at the start of the quarantine. Christina shifted once again to make sure her staff stayed safe as they went back into the community to support CCA members. She also became a personal protective equipment (PPE) coordinator and got her staff the proper PPE to stay safe and keep members safe.
Christina has also supported COVID-19 homebound vaccination efforts at CCA, and has helped her team as they administer vaccines in the communities they serve. She has even administered vaccines to homebound members herself.
“Hearing the excitement in their voices as they describe their feelings about receiving the vaccine, especially receiving it in their homes, is truly the best feeling in the world,” she says. “I feel very blessed to be here—to help keep our members safe and provide them with peace of mind.”
“It is incredible to work for a wonderful organization and be given the opportunity to make a difference. We are making a difference every day and in the lives of so many.”
A large part of Christina’s job is supporting her staff as they help CCA members who have critical health issues. Recently, Christina worked with a member who had a complex psychiatric and trauma history. This member had recently been hospitalized and was about to be discharged. Christina and her team worked with the behavioral health team to develop a plan that met the member’s needs and allowed the member to safely return to the community. “Had we not come together as an team, bringing all the right medical disciplines to the table, we may have had a very different outcome.”
“Every member is unique, and each situation requires that special CCA care: the type of care that allows us to come together and do what we need to do in order to meet the needs of our members.”
Despite the seriousness of the pandemic, Christina finds ways to show appreciation to her staff and add a little cheer. For Nurses Week last year, Christina and her coworker Ellie Saillant, an LPN supervisor, arranged a drive-by parade to recognize the team for their hard work at the beginning of the pandemic. She and Ellie also surprised medical assistants with a surprise drop-in for Medical Assistants Recognition Week. For Christmas, the team had a socially distanced gathering in a CCA parking lot. “The best part was watching our doughnuts fly away in the wind. It was memorable to say the least,” she says.
“It’s the little things that matter. I love being able show my team how much I appreciate them and thank them for all they do.”
Christina’s team tries to keep normality in their routines, but they have also shared their fear and frustrations as they confronted the unknown. “We were able to get through this together,” she says.