A nature to nurture

Feb 20, 2020


The door burst open and her father ran in, carrying a young family member who was gasping for air.

That is one of the first memories Paula Espinola has of her arrival to America from the Azores.

Espinola was 17 years old when her family member was involved in a tractor accident at her uncle’s farm in Hanford.

That family member was rushed to Adventist Health Hanford, given a chest tube and transported to Valley Children’s Healthcare in Madera County, where they stayed for two weeks. Espinola visited frequently. She had known for a few years that she wanted to become a nurse, and watching the compassion shown to her relative and her family reaffirmed her desire to get into the medical field.

“I have a passion for caring for others,” says Espinola. “Having a good nurse and someone with compassion can change your entire healthcare experience.”

Espinola has been a nurse with Adventist Health Hanford for nearly 16 years. She cares for patients on the second floor of the Medical-Surgical department, home of the Joint Replacement Center.

On January 8, 2020, a patient’s daughter wrote a heart-warming story about how Espinola not only cared for her father, but cried with him after helping him make a life-changing decision that would ultimately improve his quality of life. That letter earned Espinola a DAISY Award, a coveted award bestowed upon extraordinary nurses by patients and healthcare leaders.

“What was so emotional about this story is that I shared with the patient a personal story of how my father-in-law went through the exact same situation,” says Espinola. “My father-in-law had heart problems and was very sick but made a tough decision and is now enjoying time with family.”

“We are so grateful to have loving nurses like Paula on our team,” says Laurie Taggart, patient care executive for Adventist Health in the Central Valley. “Our mission is to live God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope and Paula does a great job of fulfilling all three.”

Espinola considers herself a spiritual person who believes in God and offers to pray with patients.

“One of the reasons I love working at Adventist Health is because I can share God’s love,” says Espinola. “God has a plan for us and He will always see us through.”