Nadine Fiorenza, RN
Moffitt PACU Nurse
Waking up from surgery, you’re lucky if your eyes open to someone as caring as Nadine Fiorenza. As a recovery room nurse at Moffitt Cancer Center, she’s often the first to speak to patients. She knows they can be scared, confused and emotional, and it’s her job to put them at ease.
Nadine knows the typical questions: “Do I have cancer? Did they get everything out? Am I going to be okay?” she says. “One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to hold their hand or talk them through those fears and anxiety.”
But Nadine is also there for the immediate physical challenges—managing issues with airway, blood pressure, nausea and pain. Balancing these needs with her patients’ emotional needs has given her a pretty clear picture of what cancer is all about.
And then in 2015, Nadine felt the impact of it even more profoundly. Her father was diagnosed with primary amyloidosis, a very rare cancer that begins in the bone marrow and can lead to organ failure. Her reaction? “This isn’t happening to me. It was almost surreal.”
Her father came to Moffitt. Instantly they both felt a sense of relief. Nadine admired his courage all through his recovery, even pushing himself to continue working part-time. “He still finds humor in things,” she notes, “and it’s like that with a lot of the patients at Moffitt…that in times of difficulty they still persevere and enjoy life.”
Nadine finds the rewards of nursing immense. Connecting with people. Supporting them through difficult times. “And what a lot of my patients don’t realize,” she says, “is that they in turn help me so much as well.”