South Florida Hospital News
Thursday May 28, 2020
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January 2007 - Volume 3 - Issue 7

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Gloria Damasco, Nurse Manager, Achieves Excellence Through Teamwork

Gloria Damasco, RN, MSN, is a nurse manager whose commitment to teamwork is so strong that she believes that individual achievement is not really possible for a manager like herself. Instead, she feels that her work is reflected in the achievements of her staff, and that any accolades that come her way truly belong to everyone on her team.

Her team, however, seems to feel differently. Damasco was named the 2006 recipient of the Broward General Medical Center’s Excellence Award, given each year to one outstanding employee from a potential field of over 8,000. Damasco was nominated by her nursing staff – a testament that speaks highly of her performance, but one that is even more remarkable when one considers that her nomination came not from her staff as a group, but from numerous nominations submitted individually.

Debbie Cardenas, RN, BSN, assistant nurse manager, says that the various staff members did not even know that others had nominated Damasco. "We each did it on our own, and we laughed when we heard that she received the most nominations. But we were not surprised. Gloria deserves the award; she’s a great manager and a pleasure to work with."

This modest nurse manager with the exceptional leadership style came to BGMC in 2004 to oversee the complex daily operations of three critical care units: the cardiovascular intensive care unit, the intensive coronary care unit and the newly opened Tower medical-surgical intensive care unit. Damasco brought 20 years of solid critical care clinical experience to her new position at Broward, but perhaps more importantly, she brought a management style that resonated with the 90-member nursing staff, invigorating them to pull together as a cohesive team and deliver state-of-the-art care.

Damasco is all about teamwork, and she believes in empowering her staff to take responsibility for their own work environment. "I see myself as a resource, a coach, a mentor and role model. My philosophy comes from my own experiences as a nurse, plus my reading about leadership and change theory. I believe that nurses need managers who will provide them with the resources and tools to do the best job possible; nurses want to give excellent care and are very patient-centered. A good manager facilitates that, helping them build competency and become accountable.

"Our work is very hard, and if the nurses have to worry about shortages and inadequate resources, they cannot do the job well; they will be distracted and unhappy. As manager, I am accessible and visible and I try to be a good listener."

Accountability plays an important role in Damasco’s management philosophy. She established a shared governance system for her units five months ago and is pleased with the results so far. "The officers are quite active and committed, and this system promotes teamwork and responsibility among them," she says.

Cardenas agrees. "Gloria encourages the staff to make decisions. It is our unit, she tells us, and she lets us manage most of the daily operations while she handles the big issues. She is our voice, representing us to the administration. This has had a positive impact on the staff, boosting morale for everyone. We are like a family now and we enjoy coming to work."

Damasco acknowledges that nurse managers face many complex challenges and demands, but she believes that the rewards are plentiful. Positive patient outcomes are always the primary goal, she says, and she and the staff derive great satisfaction from seeing patients, who come into the unit critically ill, leave in good shape because of their excellent care. "Good care and positive outcomes are satisfying for all of us, but for me, another reward is the growth of the staff. I strive to provide a professional growth environment and when a staff member takes advantage of the resources here and reaches a goal or moves to the next level, I feel gratified."

Damasco feels deeply honored by her selection for the Excellence Award, but insists that the award honors the entire staff. "This brings pride to all of us. A manager is only as good as her team and we have a great team, full of positive energy."

Prior to relocating to Florida in 2004, Damasco worked in Columbus, Ohio, as a nurse manager for a coronary care unit. She is a graduate of the University Santo Tomas in the Philippines, and received her master’s degree recently from the University of Phoenix. She places a high value on education and professional growth, not only for herself but for her staff as well.

"Nursing is still misunderstood by the public but that is changing and we have gained respect," she says. "Nurses are more educated and so many are continuing their education for higher degrees. The public needs to recognize that nursing is a profession and that we collaborate with physicians and other disciplines and work very hard. We are there for the patient and the community, and are a valuable asset.

"This is an exciting time to be a nurse, because the opportunities are limitless. As a nurse manager, it is my responsibility to help the nurses down that road of growth, achievement and success. We need to encourage nurses to keep learning and growing because when a nurse improves herself, she improves the entire profession."

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