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Hyun Kyung Na, BSN, RN

Hyun Kyung Na, BSN, RN

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Head Nurse
NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View

Strength and inspiration sometimes come in small packages: just ask Hyun Kyung Na, Staff Nurse at NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View, who says she was inspired by her mother to pursue a nursing career.

“My mom has powerful spirit, even though she is a tiny and physically weak lady,” she notes. “I learned my life lessons from her caring for other family members, which motivated me to take care of other people in the nursing profession.”

“I enjoy listening and understanding other peoples’ feelings,” she adds. “I think it is a part of my nature and becomes my strength as a nurse.

Na has been a nurse for 11 years, spending the past nine at Sea View, where she was instrumental in dealing with the pandemic response, which she describes as both challenging and rewarding. In fact, she says it was one of the best moments of her nursing career.

“At the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, there was a lot of fear among patients, staff and family members; it was very hard to deal with and we all had to work as first responders,” she recalls. “This was the hardest time in my life as a nurse, as well as a mom of two young kids. However, it was also the most valuable time to experience that we could all come together with powerful teamwork for one shared goal: to protect our patients’ lives and our families’ lives. I feel very proud of myself that I was one of the nurses who fought against an unknown virus, and succeeded to protect my patients, coworkers and my family.”

Na credits her coworkers and leadership with creating a successful patient care environment. “I really appreciate all my coworkers and supervisors, who help manage our unit and provide patient care,” she states. “Working with them, I have been able to learn every day how teamwork is important for successful patient care.”

“The nursing profession is more than just a job; we take care of the person as well as treat disease,” she adds. “A patient’s condition can be changed in a positive direction depending on the care they receive from a nurse; a nurse’s spirit for the patient cannot be replaced by anything else. Education and motivation for mindful nursing make big differences in the future of nursing.”

Na points to an example of a very ill diabetic resident who was unable to swallow or talk. “I had to talk very loudly to wake him up and feed him; I told him my story about the strength God gave to us, even though I was not sure he was listening or not,” she explains. “A couple of days later, his condition improved and he was able to verbalize. When I entered his room, he smiled at me and said, ‘Thank you, nurse Na.’ He said he was able to hear what I told him even though he was not able to respond, and his smile was very valuable to me.”

According to Na, compassion is the ICARE value that most deeply resonates with her approach to nursing. “In my opinion, compassion is the most important foundation to support all other values in nursing,” she says. “When somebody is sick, they may be weak emotionally as well as physically. Nurses are the ones who can stay with patients when they are sick and alone. We are the ones who can help them to share their feelings in the moments of being afraid of being separated from their loved ones or falling down in their life. Without compassion, it is not easy to listen and help patients during their hardest times. This point of view helps me to listen and support patients in my day-to-day nursing career.”

Learn more about our Nursing Excellence Award Winners