While Buffalo has always been her home, Nicole Mierzwa, BSN, RN, wanted to see a little more of the world. For years she worked as a traveling nurse, going where she was needed.
One assignment brought her back home and to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. When the time came to decide whether she wanted to stay or accept a new assignment somewhere else, she stayed. She chose to remain so many times, she decided it was time to give up traveling nursing for good.
“Eventually it was, Well, I’m not going anywhere else, and I don’t want to go anywhere else. Might as well put down some roots,” she says.
An operating room nurse for the past six years, Mierzwa has been selected as Roswell Park’s Nurse of the Month for June in recognition of her dedication and care for patients.
Like some other nurses, Mierzwa wasn’t sure she wanted to work in a cancer center. “I thought it might be sad or heavy, but I really got to like oncology. You feel like you’re accomplishing something at the end of the day.”
Working in the operating room is fast-paced, and the tasks change from day to day and patient to patient, but it’s where her interest in nursing has always been.
“I like being able to see things you don’t normally see,” she says. “I found it fascinating, the things we as a team are able to do, helping to put people back together and then waking them up a few minutes later. It’s fascinating how much can be fixed and how we can help people to function. You don’t realize how much goes on unless you actually see it.”
Every day she works with a slightly different team in the operating room, but she and her five other teammates that day are always committed to doing their best for their patients.
“I do a lot of work in GI (gastrointestinal). That’s sort of my home base. We can be assigned where we’re needed, but my GI team, we’ve gotten close over the years,” she says.
Never miss another Cancer Talk blog!
Sign up to receive our monthly Cancer Talk e-newsletter.Sign up!
Joining the OR nursing team was “a blessing, because Nicole is a very well-rounded OR nurse who can work confidently in all service lines,” says Heidi Pupo Wojciechowski, RN, CNOR, the interim Perioperative Nursing Supervisor. “Her polite, positive and friendly demeanor is both welcomed and refreshing. She tends to be on the quiet side, but the impact she has on her patients, coworkers and department speaks volumes.”
When she’s not helping in the OR, Mierzwa says she likes to keep busy, getting to the gym and spending time with her young nephews, ages 5 and 6.
She’s still surprised at being recognized for her work and says the award could easily go to anyone who works at Roswell Park.
“I would like to say thank you to my coworkers and Roswell Park for allowing me to come to a place where I love my job every day, and I choose to stay here,” she says.