Happy Nurses Week!


Alais Alzaga, Media Arts Editor

During this time of crisis many are realizing the importance of these heroes, nurses. Nurses have always been our heroes, giving hope and saving lives, that’s why this week honors them. Nurses week has been recognized since October of 1954. So, I have interviewed two nurses to learn more about their experiences as a nurse.

First up is Francesca Bryan-Couch, the Care Coordination Chief at the VA (Veterans Affairs hospital) who has been a nurse for 27 years as of this year. Her original hopes were to be a doctor, but she later decided to become a nurse, and she is currently one year away from a doctorate in nursing. She said, “I am a faithful person, and I believe god leads you on a path… this was my biggest blessing.” When she was 9 years old she wanted to become a surgeon after getting her appendix removed and later started college as a doctor. But, the people in the college said, ” If you are a woman, you need to decide if you want an education or a family, but you can’t have both.” At the time she was dating someone and came from a big family, so she decided to leave the program. She got married when her husband suggested that she would go back to school as a nurse. So she pursued nursing. I asked her about her end goal, she explained, ” I love education…ultimately I have two end goals, number one is  I would like to own a wellness center to take care of veterans. Second, I would like to teach future nurses how to be compassionate and caring while at the same time doing self-care.” Her job, a very important one, has three parts. She oversees 25 people under three sections. 1) Bed control- the movement of patients around the hospital. 2) Utilization management- people who review the charts and make sure patients go to the right place. 3) Care coordination- they look for any gaps in treatment, and try to help their patients manage their disease at home, like congestive heart failure for example. I asked, “What is your favorite part of being a nurse?”, she replied, “It may sound weird but my favorite part of being a nurse is when I am able to be with a patient and their family, and my job is to make them comfortable and at peace and make their last moments filled with dignity, honor and compassion.”

Then we have Marissa Lopez De Alzaga, my mom. She is a nurse case manager who works for Francesca under utilization management. Marissa has been working as a nurse for 13 years as of July 7th of this year. I asked her why she became a nurse and she said, “It was an option, I wanted to be a doctor but I just didn’t have the financial means, I didn’t want to be in debt forever… Also because I wanted to make more money than your dad.” She also explained how she has always been interested in medicine and was interested in traveling, because nurses are needed everywhere, she could live and work anywhere. Her end goal:”To retire.”, well said. She has previously worked as a N.I.C.U. (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit)  nurse meaning she worked with babies, at TMC and later UMC here in Tucson. When asked why she chose that position she said,”Because if I were to change diapers I’d want it t0 be someone smaller than me.” Then she moved on to helping first time moms at the Easter Seals Blake foundation, and later to Aetna where she helped those with low income, substance abuse and mental health issues. She later moved to case management at P3 healthcare until she found her spot at the VA hospital. Her favorite part of being a nurse is, “… being helpful to people, taking care of them, making them feel better.” “Also, ” she jokingly added, ” It is a trusted profession, people always tell me their secrets.”

Thank you to all of the nurses and for everything you do, not just during this pandemic, but every day. Every week should be nurses week.