It’s a hard truth in life that some days will be tougher than others. Whether it’s in our personal or professional lives, knowing someone has your back can make all the difference.
“I definitely enjoy bedside patient care, direct patient care, but I also enjoy helping out everyone on the unit,” says Alex Falco. “I just try to be a resource for everyone.”
Falco, RN, was recently praised for being a resource on the unit by a colleague. They shared how Falco supported them on their second night working with the unit after a patient became irritable and difficult.
“Alex made herself available and checked on me multiple times throughout the night to see how I was doing or if I needed help,” they write. “She’s one of the most compassionate team members we have.”
Falco continues to dedicate her career to the patients and team of the Adult Internal Medicine Unit. She’s transitioned through several roles in the unit, starting as a nursing assistant in 2018, then transitioning to staff nurse, before recently taking a lead role as a charge nurse over the past year.
Now she’s pursuing her bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) and a Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN) certification.
“I’ve always been interested in leadership opportunities,” Falco says. “I try to talk with the team first before I make a decision during a shift, rather than just deciding what I think is best. We’re a team and I want us to be able to lean on each other.”
Learning her passions
Like many who’ve answered the call of caring for others, Falco first found her passion for caring people when she was growing up across the street from her grandmother. A major influence in her life, Falco’s grandmother required care at home towards the end of her life, something Falco played a major role in.
“We would relieve the at-home nurse at the end of the day and carrying for my grandmother made me feel the closest to her that I ever had,” she says.
Her compassion for others carries her through the hardest shifts.
“Because we’re a general unit, we get patients from all over the hospital and some are here for months,” she says. “I try to always put myself in their shoes, and I’m definitely reminded of my grandmother with some patients. It helps me relate to them.”
What makes a shift
Falco works on the night shift, an environment, she says, that requires a team mindset.
“Being able to lean on someone is what can make or break a shift,” Falco says. “Not as many people work at night, so we’ve really developed a sense of family.”
The unit is set up with a handful of pods, each with a handful of rooms. Staff are paired off with a “pod buddy.”
“You check on each other,” Falco says. “You could have an intense assignment one night, but your pod buddy might have a lighter assignment. They’re in the thick of it with you and helping to answer your call lights and getting you to a stable place.”
As charge nurse, Falco aims to be intentional when making the assignments for the night. She tries to anticipate who might need more help throughout the shift, and then schedule accordingly.
Stressful days happen in every job, but that’s why team support is essential. Falco says she wants those she works with to know that after a hard day, it’s “okay to not be okay” and that reaching out for help creates a more productive environment for all.
“Everyone needs help. And if you put yourself in that situation where you don’t ask for help and you’re just drowning, it’s going to really take a toll on your mental health,” Falco says. “We’re here to support one another so we can support our patients.”