Sue Zavala

Sue Zavala

Sue Zavala, RN, CCRN, CPAN

Recovery Department PACU
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center
Mission Hills, California
United States

I was a patient at Holy cross late in 2014 and want to share with you the amazing care I received while I was there. When I woke from surgery, I was not able to see or speak and only had an awareness of being somewhere. When I was taught the pain scale, I was told that a pain level of 10 is the worst pain imaginable. What is not generally known is that the worst pain is really unimaginable. And that is what I had. I was truly in despair. I could not communicate and I thought that if I died now, it would be an improvement over my current condition. When I thought all was lost an angel came to me, called me by name and said, "I am giving you some pain medication." I felt some relief, then the pain was back and so was the despair, since I still could not see or speak. Again, the angel came to me. This was repeated several times over; I do not know what span of time. This is my only recollection of this post op period.

I have since learned that my angel's name was Sue Zavala, the nurse who cared for me in PACU. Her comforting words, that she called me by name, and recognized what I was experiencing despite my lack of communication were not just comforting but truly saved me. I have never before or since experienced this feeling of such utter lack of control or vulnerability. I do not imagine many people have a very strong recollection of who cared for them while in PACU. However, I will never forget my angel and hope that you will recognize her as a truly exceptional and caring nurse.

From Sue Zavala's Supervisor, Karen Barber:

It is a pleasant surprise that someone from the PACU was chosen as the DAISY Award Honoree as most of our patients don't remember us. But, it is no surprise that the PACU nurse is Sue Zavala.

When Sue joined us at Holy Cross, she not only brought to us her wealth of experience but also graced us with a passion for the profession of nursing. Sue exemplifies everything that makes nurses special. She is compassionate and attentive to her patients, rarely leaving the bedside. Her patients thrive under her gentle but skilled care. She has handled the changes in healthcare with grace and positivity. Sue makes my role as ANM a little easier by stepping in when I'm not here and volunteering to be on multiple committees. Her dedication and pride in Providence are obvious. One of her coworkers summed it up nicely in a recent team feedback:

"Sue's greatest strengths include her considerable experience and knowledge base, which she generously shares with others. I have on many occasions collaborated with Sue on difficult clinical patient issues and she is always willing to share her experience. Sue manages the role of charge nurse in the PACU well by maintaining a positive can-do' attitude when dealing with other departments and coordinating the transfer of patients into the recovery department. Her outstanding attention to detail and work ethic set high standards for others to follow. Sue is direct, straightforward, and honest in her verbal communication while maintaining positive attitude. I can proudly say that our unit and our hospital are better off by having her here."