Sara Vessel, BSN, RN – BC - Charge Nurse, Med/Surg Unit, Citrus Memorial Hospital
Sara Vessel wants to be the best possible nurse. The charge nurse for Citrus Memorial Hospital’s (CMH) Med/Surg Unit continually seeks out opportunities to further her nursing education, including becoming Board Certified.
“I always wanted to do something in the medical field. As a little girl, I wanted to be a pediatrician,” she said. In college, however, Vessel chose to study accounting.
“After a while, I thought, ‘no, I want to take care of people.’ Nursing just grew from there,” she said.
Vessel started in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant (CNA), then earned her LPN in 2009. She began working as an office nurse in a Citrus Primary Care practice. After earning her RN in 2015, she moved to CMH’s second floor and became charge nurse soon after.
“We get all kinds of patients with different conditions. Most need to be on a cardiac monitor so we can watch their heartrate and rhythm,” she said. “We also get wound, respiratory, psychiatric, and stroke patients.
“We are a starting and ending point,” she added, noting that some patients admitted to her unit need to be moved to higher level care, and others are moved down to her unit from a higher acuity unit.
“Sara is dedicated to the care and safety of the patients assigned to her floor,” her nominator said. “She truly loves her job and strives to make it a place where patients can thrive and have great care while going through the challenge of a hospital stay. She has earned the respect of her peers as well as doctors. Her coworkers can always count on her to step up when they need help, whether it’s patient care or just a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent in. She can be counted on to remain calm and make decisions, no matter what situation is occurring.”
As charge nurse, Vessel oversees a staff of six nurses, three CNAs and a unit secretary.
“I lead by example. I like things to be done in a way that is not only right but also assures that our patients are taken care of,” she said. “I feel I can be a better resource in a leadership role; it gives me more leeway in making sure our patients are cared for. I also enjoy making sure people get the necessary guidelines and education to make sure they will recover well.
“Nursing is stressful,” she added. “There are days over the 10 years that I’ve wondered why I’m doing this. But I come back because I know I can make a difference. My team works so well together. It’s just a matter of taking the job day by day.”
Vessel has continued her education, earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing and become board certified in med/surg nursing.
“I feel that the more knowledge I have, the more I can provide to my team and patients,” she said.
The Sarasota native moved to Citrus County in 2004, after her parents relocated to the area. She has three sons; the oldest is in the Navy, and the two younger, ages 14 and 10, are active in school and baseball.
“If I’m not at CMH, I’m at the baseball field,” she said. “Between work, my boys, and education, I don’t have time for hobbies.”
Vessel was honored by the Nurses Appreciation nomination and award.
“It’s a great feeling to know that someone felt I deserved this,” she said. “I just think I’m doing my job. People deserve to be treated well; I think I treat everyone with respect and courtesy and I try to be a good leader.
“Many things in my work give me satisfaction: seeing a patient go home who may not have been able to before our care; comforting a patient who has gotten bad news; being here for my teammates; having patients say thank you for listening to me,” she said. “But knowing that my team is doing what we’re here to do as nurses — that gives me a real sense of accomplishment.
“I don’t think I could do anything else,” she added. “I have too much of a heart for this place and the patients we serve.”