“UCLA fully supports the Nurse Practitioner role.”

Berta's nursing journey began over 28 years ago at UCLA Health. In her junior year of nursing school, she started working as a Senior Nursing Aide before becoming a bedside nurse in Pediatrics. She went on to take roles as a Step-down Nurse, Bone Marrow Transplant Nurse and ICU Nurse. When she saw the opportunity to become a Nurse Practitioner, Berta decided to pursue her Master's. “UCLA fully supports the Nurse Practitioner role. And I'm able to use my Master's degree in a position that I'm very happy to be in.”

“I think that's very important whenever you're making a decision,” says Berta. “Whether you're a bedside nurse or now as a Nurse Practitioner, it's always about doing what's best for the patient.” She points out that the Nurse Practitioner role can differ from unit to unit, and even from day shift to night shift. But in every unit, the patient is at the center of everything. In the PICU, Berta works as part of multidisciplinary team, managing patients and handling admission orders and discharge planning.

Of all the things Nurse Practitioners are responsible for doing, Berta feels that continuity is among the most important. “There's a constant circulation of different faces on the unit. Patients can have different attending physicians accompanied by different fellows. Residents change out every two to four weeks. But we're here week to week, so we get to know the patients who are here the longest. We also get to know the families, which I love. And families get to know us and really appreciate what we do.”

The role of the Nurse Practitioner involves the ongoing education of both bedside nurses and physicians. “I work with three different levels of physicians,” Berta explains. “I work with the residents who are seeing the patients on a daily basis. I work the fellows who manage all of the patients on the unit. And I work with the attendings, who do a lot of teaching on rounds. We're very collegial and supportive of each other. The physicians rely on us. They're comfortable with handing off some of their control because they know we have the strongest connection to the patients.”

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