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Nurse’s week spotlight: Adventist Health nurses making a difference


Healers, super heroes, counselors, pain relievers, supporters, comforters, friends. When it comes to describing nurses, the list is endless. At Adventist Heath, our own community of health professionals and patients recognize our honorable, hard-working nursing professionals all year long, because without them – well, let’s not even go there.

In honor of Nurse’s Week, we’re celebrating these exceptional leaders in health and wellness not just by saying thank you, but by sharing and acknowledging their personal words, including what challenges and inspires them most.

Check out some special takeaways from our recent one-on-one interviews with four members of our incredible nursing team from Adventist Health’s St. Helena Hospital.

Angelina Vasquez

RN, ICU Days

What inspires her:
“I’m inspired by serving God by caring for our patients and their loved ones.”

The best part of her day:
“Assisting patients and their loved ones through the process of healing and health, and others towards their end of life journey.”

The hardest part of her job:
“Watching patients and their loved ones be unrealistic and unable to cope with the reality of their health situation.”

Ruth Mendoza


What she wants people to know about being a nurse:
“Being a nurse is providing loving and holistic care to each patient. It means that we never stop learning and seeking to improve health through our skill, knowledge, compassion and empathy for our patients.”

What makes her smile at work:
“My interactions with my patients and co-workers, and the smile on my patients’ faces even when they feel sick.”

What breaks her heart:
“When a patient and their family suffer, and when I leave at the end of the day wondering whether or not they will pull through.”

Biz McIllmoyl

RN, ICU Days

What motivates her to keep going, no matter what:
“Hope, and the daily opportunity to be better than the last.”

What she wants everyone to know:
“Being a nurse sometimes means letting us into their family, their world, their suffering. This can be uplifting, but often times comes with a heavy burden. It is not something we take lightly. It is a pleasure, a gift, and a great responsibility.”

On her most challenging and humbling moments:
“We see people for whom we think death is certain come back to lead a thriving life. We see people who had thriving lives come to an abrupt and unexpected end.”

Kaaren Peterschmidt

RN, Clinical Nurse Specialist for Critical Care

What fuels her every day:
“The variety and significance of the science and the multitude and magnitude of diagnoses and therapies is challenging and stimulating to the brain.”

Reflecting on her career choice:
“Nursing goes beyond being an inspiring and challenging profession. It’s fulfilling in so many ways and feels like a positive contribution to society and to your community.”

Why she keeps going:
“There are so many reasons why I love my job: the community of professionals that I work with; the brain-stimulating aspect of the job; the opportunity to utilize the range of skills I’ve been trained for; the result in the patients that we care for that allows them go home; and the feeling that you make a difference in the lives of people when they are at their most vulnerable.”


There’s no doubt that nursing is one of the most challenging yet rewarding careers imaginable. Devoting a life to helping others through a combination of trained medical skills and deep compassion isn’t easy – and it isn’t for everyone. So, we say thank you to our dedicated nurses, a team of individuals handpicked to help support our mission and values at Adventist Health. We salute and honor all of our incredible nurses who serve as our guideposts in health, healing and hope. Happy Nurse’s Week from all of us at Adventist Health!