Anne Gadia is a registered nurse at Augusta University Medical Center who is continuously trying to improve herself through education.
“Nursing has greatly advanced since I first started working, and I did not want to be left behind by the times,” said Gadia, who has been working at AUMC for the past 11 years and has been a nurse for 13 years total.
She was also inspired by the Augusta University Health nurses and leaders she admires, who all have their master of science in nursing (MSN), including AUMC’s Carla Allen and Latoya Tyler; Laura Brower, AU Health vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer; and Ann Hayes, nurse manager of Children’s Hospital of Georgia Pediatric Perioperative Services and Pediatric Cath Lab.
“My clinical nursing role models and the nursing leaders that I look up to also have their MSN. I just knew that I had to do it someday, too,” she said.
When she came across challenges at work, she knew an advanced degree would benefit her and her patients.
“The final trigger that pushed me to pursue a higher degree is when I was a part of the evidence-based Practice Council,” Gadia said. “I had no idea how to complete a literature review and level of evidence recommendation. At that point, I knew that I refused to be intimidated by advanced nursing knowledge. The only way I knew how to fix it, was to go back to school and learn it firsthand.
“MSN preparation did not disappoint me. I found myself integrating my clinical skills and experience into health care matters that I just used to ignore. I began to see events from a different perspective and it has greatly empowered me in my clinical role.”
While she has thrived in her current profession, when she was younger, Gadia wanted to become an electronics and communications engineer.
“But in our culture, usually your parents will tell you what they want you to become based on what they feel is best for you,” said Gadia, who is originally from the Philippines. “In 2002, my mother told me that I should be in nursing. She told me that she sees me as a nurse someday and that she thinks it is best for me as far as job opportunities when I moved to the United States after I finished college. I have no regrets that I followed my mom; she saw my potential and of course knew what was best for me.”
Gadia has been working in the pediatric operating room since 2011. She started working at the Medical College of Georgia in 2009 as a cardiac PRN nurse. She said at the time she was also working full-time at a different facility as an L&D nurse, where she first fell in love with babies.
She said it was a dream come true when Hayes hired her and allowed her to transfer to her current position, where she was given the chance to take care of babies and practice nursing in a field she finds interesting.
After months of OR training, Gadia became the lead nurse for the pediatric ENT service, where she said she has learned most of the foundation of being a strong OR nurse. In 2015, Gadia earned the opportunity to specialize in pediatric heart surgery.
“Being a nurse in this field allowed me to integrate all my other nursing experience — medical and surgical nursing, progressive care, cardiac, mother-baby, L&D, ENT, and general OR — and apply it in the care of a child or an adult with a congenital heart defect,” she said.
Hayes said Gadia consistently demonstrates a high level of professionalism, possesses a passion for the practice of nursing and is a constant advocate for others.
“She is known for the delivery of exceptional complex care for the tiniest of patients as well as adults with congenital heart anomalies,” Hayes said. “She is a role model for both the novice and expert nurse, always looking for ways to improve the patient experience and clinical outcomes.”
Gadia is grateful for the kind words from her nursing leadership.
“It motivates me to keep doing what I’ve been doing because I know somehow it has a positive effect on somebody, be it a patient, their family, or a colleague.
“To deliver the best care to our patients and their families, it is never straightforward,” Gadia said. “Although it is easier to deliver mediocre care to get the job done and to save me the trouble of going through loopholes to produce the desired outcomes, this is not what I provide. I always try to go beyond what is expected. Having the patients’ and their families’ best interest in my mind always makes it easier to overcome every impediment that I encounter when caring for a patient. In the end, the positive results make everything worthwhile and I find a meaning in what I do.”
Gadia says maintaining her focus on her patients and their families is what keeps her going.
“Without good outcomes, all the work that I put in every day will be insignificant,” she said. “I find it very rewarding to witness a sick baby grow into a healthier child. I find my purpose whenever a family member still recognizes me after years or months that I have taken care of their child or loved one. Up to this day, I still have previous L&D patients who randomly come up to me and tell me how I took care of them 10 years ago during their delivery. It fuels my drive to continue to improve myself and the care I provide my patients and their families.”
As for her peers, Gadia believes in everybody’s potential and she tries her best to encourage them all to be better versions of themselves.
“Sometimes, a person just needs somebody to believe in them. When I feel like a nursing colleague is ready for the next level in nursing, I try to encourage them to either pursue a national certification, participate in the clinical ladder program, or be involved in shared governance — just as my mentors have done,” Gadia said.
“I help them navigate through it if they feel it is overwhelming. I feel that in a special way it helps them find their purpose, too, and they become more involved in patient care-related matters or even in the community.”