Luz Berrios

Luz Berrios, LPN

SCI-DR/Rehabilitation
James A. Haley VA Hospital
Tampa, Florida
United States
Luz once told me, “Find their strength and empower them, find their weakness and encourage them.”

What an amazing nurse and woman. Luz truly loves her job and most of all her patients; to know her is to love her. I love all that energy she has. I find her to be very knowledgeable, very generous, and very “back of the scene” person. Luz loves life, loves her patients, her co-workers and loves her job. She has taught me a lot, and I don’t think she even realizes that she has. This job is not work for Luz, it is a passion.

Patients relate to her in a way I have not seen in any other nurse. Whatever she asks of them, they do. I have seen her come in early to help a patient get ready for an event, just because he asked her. Her statement to him was, “If you want me here to help you, I will be here.” Never once did she write her time or mention it to anyone. Night shift appreciated it. I have also seen her stay late. She gave a report, put the patient in the shower, made his bed and gave him comfort. The night shift nurse and the patient reminded her that it was time for her to go home, but she continued and finished what she started, not once writing it down or mentioning it to anyone. This was a brand new injury patient, and the patient was embarrassed. Not for too long, her words of encouragement lifted him up. The words of wisdom and encouragement were beyond measure.

I have seen her pray with patients, their families, and co-workers. The patients love to see her in her orange with her big smile. The patients love to hear of her love of the Bears football team. Most of all we all love her hugs. I have seen her in pain only to cover it up with laughter or a smile. When I asked if she was ok, her only reply was “my allergies are acting up”. I have seen her work with some of the most difficult patients in this unit only to bring smiles to their faces. Her favorite quote that I can recall is, “You’re the boss, can you tell me what we are doing today? You will be rehabbing me today. Everything you have been taught up until today, you will show me what to do and how to do it. Ready? It’s showtime.”

She has taught many that just by simply asking and listening to these patients you get things done. Sometimes we just need to listen. If they like coffee, start the day with coffee. If they like music, turn on your Pandora, it’s the little things that make the difference. Luz once told me, “Find their strength and empower them, find their weakness and encourage them.”

I walked in the break room one morning, there was Luz giving a hug and handing a check to a young lady, then left the room. When I asked if I had interrupted and if everything was ok, the young lady stated, “She just gave me her tithes, and it was the exact amount I needed for my rent, Luz doesn’t even know me like that.” I was present when one of our coworkers received the call that her test results were positive and she began to cry. Luz grabbed her by the arms and pulled her into room 15, held her tight, then stood tall in front of her and said, “This is where your faith comes in, you have a child and family that needs you, stay here, cry, yell, make your calls, but when you come out, handle business, you are not alone and you are not a victim.” Luz takes care of her patients, their families, and her coworkers. Luz is a nurse in every sense of the word.