Nurses Month Spotlight: Dana O’Gara
May is Nurses Month, and as the 2022 theme states: “Nurses Make a Difference.” During this time, all are encouraged to thank nurses for the vital role they play in the healthcare industry. Here at Gaudenzia, we have amazing nurses who work incredibly hard to make a difference in people’s lives every day.
This week, as part of our ongoing celebration of nurses, we’d like to highlight a few of the dedicated nurses on our staff.
Today, the spotlight is on Dana O’Gara.
Dana is a Licensed Practical Nurse at Gaudenzia’s Coal Township Outpatient addiction treatment program, located in Northumberland County, PA. This August, Dana will celebrate three years as part of Gaudenzia’s team.
We’re so grateful to Dana for taking the time to answer our questions about nursing in addiction treatment. Here’s what she had to say:
What Makes Nursing in the SUD Treatment Field Unique?
It’s definitely a different type of nursing. Mental health and SUD — and sometimes mixed with medical issues — can be a challenge. Each person that walks through our door has unique needs. Different traumas, different mental health diagnoses, different medical issues, different substances. Our job is to figure out what type of help each person is going to need and to get them where they need to go.
How Do You Connect with Gaudenzia’s Mission?
My sister struggled with fentanyl addiction for eight LONG years. I’m happy to say she is four years clean now. But it was probably the hardest time in my life. My brother recently died of a drug overdose last year, and I don’t want anyone to feel the pain that I endured. My mission is to help anyone who walks through our door wanting help.
What is Your Team at Gaudenzia Like?
I work with an amazing medical team. Each nurse has a common goal of helping each client with their individual needs. Our doctors are phenomenal, and compassionate, and always on hand. Our supervisor goes above and beyond for all of us. We have an amazing director leading the facility. Each department works well together and goes above and beyond for our clients who come to our facility. I work with the best team!!!
How Do You Practice Self-Care?
I just relax and spend quality time with my fiancé and two sons, and our dog, Penny.
What are Your Interests Outside of Work?
I love gardening, crafting, and making soap from scratch.
What Advice Would You Give Nurses Looking to Enter the SUD Treatment Field?
You need to be compassionate. A lot of our clients are looked down on due to the stigma of SUD and mental health, and not many people show them compassion, but not to let them take advantage of you either. There’s a balance that’s needed in this field.
What is the Hardest Part of Your Job, and How Do You Overcome it?
The hardest part of my job is when we see potential in a client and they’re not ready yet. It’s really hard to see them walk out the door. I just want them to see what I see.
What is Something Positive You’ve Learned in Your Role That You Weren’t Expecting?
I’ve definitely learned a lot since I started here. Each team member brings different knowledge and wisdom. I work with a few people who are in recovery themselves and it’s also inspiring to see how far they have come.