Nightingale Spotlight: Kristina Kaminski

When you first meet Kristina Kaminiski, you can’t help but notice the sparkle in her big brown eyes and magnetic smile. It is immediately clear she’s never met a stranger. She exudes a kind of energy that is both warm and inviting, something her pediatric patients are immediately drawn to.

Kaminiski started her nursing career in 2007 and made the move to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in 2009. The young mother of two wasted no time making her mark on the hospital and her patients. Kaminiski is a nursing leader on MS6, an inpatient floor of the hospital, where she specializes in caring for nephrology patients who are suffering from acute renal failure.

Unlike some of her peers, Kaminiski didn’t always know she wanted to be a nurse. In fact, she was one year away from college graduation with a degree to teach biology when she lost several family members to cancer. It was during those long hours at the hospital that her career ambitions shifted. She saw the difference nurses made in the lives of her family and wanted to make the same kind of impact in her career.

That impact is now being felt every day at Connecticut Children’s. Kaminiski currently sits on the Nursing Practice Council, recently revamped the hospital’s tracheostomy policy, and was instrumental in re-validating all of the nursing staff on how to take a manual blood pressure reading, a skill that can be quickly lost due to current technology. More important than perhaps all of that is her ability to win the trust of some of youngest and most skeptical patients.

kaminski-with-patient“I always knew I wanted to work with kids in some capacity. I loved babysitting when I was growing up and was always told I had a way of connecting with children,” Kaminiski recalled. “It’s important to remember they are people too.”

Kaminiski has a Masters in Nursing Education with future ambitions of teaching undergraduate nursing students. She recognizes that her experience as a nurse has given her invaluable knowledge she’s eager to share.

“There are many things in nursing that you can’t learn from a book,” said Kaminiski. “The one thing that sticks out in my mind is remembering to treat the whole family, not just the patient. You have to advocate for them during what can be a stressful time. In addition, it’s important to not get overwhelmed by all the tasks you have to complete and remember you have to devote time to being a nurse. Listen to what the family is saying and always remember to show compassion.”

On her way back to a patient room, a co-worker stops us in the hall and says “She’s the absolute best. Please make sure you include that in the story.” It’s the kind of unprompted praise that quickly makes you realize what an asset Kristina is to Connecticut Children’s and its patients and families.

When asked what it means to be selected as a Nightingale, Kaminiski immediately chokes up with tears that threaten to spill over. “It’s such an honor and simply a dream come true,” she whispers.

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