Ophelia Labugen, BSN, RN
Ophelia Labugen, BSN, RN
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NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur
Public health nurses serve the most fragile, vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society, and it is precisely these patients that drew Ophelia Labuguen to her 34-year nursing career.
“I took up nursing to give myself opportunity to make a difference or a positive impact on people’s lives and to have direct access to care for people especially in their most vulnerable moments,” she explains, pointing to her experiences providing care to HIV patients and elderly patients as examples.
“One of the best moments in my nursing career was when I joined the HIV care team,” she asserts. “It started out to be quite challenging, but eventually I developed this long-term relationship with our patients, and it just felt so rewarding when you know that you made a positive impact in their lives.”
Labuguen also finds working with elderly patients to be extremely fulfilling, especially when working as a team. “Staff treated each other like family; patients treated us like family and looked forward to seeing us every day,” she notes. “Taking care of the elderly is just so self-satisfying; seeing their happy faces when they see you is just so rewarding.
“I’ve always had so much love and respect for the elderly,” she continues. “Making a difference in their lives and understanding their needs, especially during their most vulnerable moments while being away from their loved ones, gave me so much happiness. I have developed skills and values which I may already have but working in the nursing home enhanced it – patience, empathy, compassion. I learned so much from working in the nursing home that I’ve been applying to my personal and professional life to this day. I learned to value life, loved ones, time and to live one day at a time.”
Currently working as a Staff Nurse in Ambulatory Care services for NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur, Labuguen has spent years working for our public health system. She considers herself to be “experienced, responsible, compassionate, caring and committed.”
Labuguen says she implements all of NYC Health + Hospitals’ ICARE values in her patient care, but feels strongly about the importance of accountability. “I feel responsible to help the patient with their needs, to make things happen, to always do the right thing,” she points out. “I believe I am accountable to render service accurately and to render quality care to the best of my ability using my professional standard of ethics, knowledge and skill.”
Going forward, Labuguen sees nurses taking on greater responsibilities in the broader health care field. “Nurses will gain more respect because nurses are the ones that are directly more in contact with patients especially now that technology plays a big part in medicine,” she predicts. “I believe that nurses will be given more roles in decision-making for patient care.”