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Salena started her journey in nursing when she was only ten years old. As a child, her mother would receive regular care for a chronic illness; the nurses taught Salena how to dress her mother’s wounds. She graduated with honors from Guam Community College’s Licensed Practical Nursing program and started working in home hospice care. “Working in home hospice was exhausting, but it was an awesome experience.” It was here that Salena learned one of her first important lessons, “I learned how important quality medical care is, not just for the patient, but especially for the family. They want to know their loved ones are being taken care of.”
In 2014, Salena began working at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam (USNH Guam) and quickly made an impression on Lt. Alexander Alba, one of the hospital’s physician assistants. “I’ve been in the military twenty years and I’ve never had anyone, when given a task, excel as Salena does. She exceeds all expectations. She has a special gift with people, a calming effect. She ensures each patient is fully informed and understands the way forward with their healthcare. She’s not just a nurse; she is a patient advocate”.
Being an advocate for patients is one of the most important aspects of nursing, but Salena continually takes it to the next level. One of her diabetic patients was having trouble with the guidelines prescribed by his doctor; Salena worked with him to explain the nutritional benefits, demonstrated how to make meals and what foods he should avoid. All the hard work paid off, progress was being made. “His blood sugars returned to normal and he no longer needed insulin, we celebrated! On his next appointment we filled the clinic with balloons and cheered for him; lifestyle changes are so hard but he did it!”
This is why Salena stands out from her peers – the impact she has on her patients and coworkers. She is passionate about being a nurse, being a patient advocate, and building positive relationships. We are very proud she joined the “Naval Hospital Family” to continue her nursing career.