Maria Miralles, R.N., cut her teeth in a busy Detroit hospital, where her colleagues would see a dozen or more gunshot wounds a day. That was on top of all the other trauma and emergency cases that would blow through the doors, easily filling up their 120 emergency department beds.
It was a far cry from her start in the business as a dialysis nurse. But somewhere along the line, someone saw potential in her ability to corral chaos and redirect the energy into an efficient, streamlined process.
And it’s those skills that make her so valuable in NorthBay Medical Center’s Emergency Department, say her colleagues, especially as a trauma program is being crafted.
“She’s dynamic,” says Daman Mott, director of Emergency Services and Trauma. “She knows what needs to be done, and she gets it done. She brings high energy and compassionate care and instills those values in her team.”
Mika Miriani, R.N., agrees. “Her experience in trauma is extensive,” she says. “You really want to be
her friend because she has so much knowledge to offer.”
That may be because Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, where she learned her skills, was a Level I teaching facility.
“When I started there I thought I wouldn’t last three months. It was new, scary and intimidating. But I went in and learned everything I could. I studied and learned that I really liked it,” says Miralles. “I guess I’m a strong person, and I like looking at the big picture and prioritizing.”
On a busy Friday night in June, she’s doing just that. Although her day is just winding down about 5 p.m.,
she’s still juggling the needs of several patients, and directing traffic as it pulses around the busy nurses’ station.
Miralles puts an arm around Dr. Mark Popil’s shoulders and asks if he will promise to have a quiet night so that when she returns at 6 a.m., it won’t be too frenzied.
He just smiles.
“I actually like it when it’s busy,” she confides. “I love helping staff, teaching them what they need to know to get the job done.”
Although NorthBay’s Emergency Department facilities are much smaller than Detroit (a combined 36 beds), there are still plenty of challenges, she notes. In addition to a steady steam of traffic and a wide variety of cases that you’d find in any ED, she’s excited about the new programs NorthBay is adding.
“In Detroit, we already had a stroke program, a trauma program and a STEMI (heart attack) program. Here, we’re just adding those things, so I can volunteer my input and be involved as we create our systems. It’s really a very exciting time to be here.”