Doris Yau, CCRN, came to the US from Hong Kong at 16 years old and always knew she wanted to be a nurse. Her constant determination and eagerness to help others has contributed to her successful 20+ years of her nurse journey.
If you can open your eyes and see what others are doing, how they tackle certain situations, you can learn so much more….”
Yau was recently named the Fall 2021 Recipient of the coveted Melissa A. Fischer Nursing Award. We interviewed Yau, and here’s what she had to say.
IN THIS ARTICLE
How long have you been a nurse and when did you know this was the career path for you?
I have been a nurse for over 20 years. My nurse journey started in 1998. I am from Hong Kong and I came to the US at 16 years old. The two main school majors in Hong Kong are business and science. I knew right away I did not want to study business. I decided to study science but always knew I wanted to be a nurse from a young age. I knew nursing was something that not only would benefit myself but would also benefit my family in the event someone became ill or needed care. I knew that what I learned in school would be something I wanted to practice in life and help others.
What specific lessons have you learned from being a nurse?
There is a difference between being a nurse and being a good nurse. A good nurse is never afraid to do too much, is always curious, and is always willing to help. I learned so much beyond my own assignments from helping other nurses. Whether it was me assisting them or them assisting me, working with others allows you to be exposed to different types of situations that allows you to grow and learn more as a nurse. If you can open your eyes and see what others are doing, how they tackle certain situations, you can learn so much more.
What was your first work experience as a nurse?
My first nurse assignment was a NOC shift as a new grad. It suited me well because I am a slow learner, and although during these shifts you would see multiple patients, it made me learn how to prioritize my work. NOC shifts are quieter since you are only dealing with your patients and you only have yourself to lean on. When I switched to day shifts, that is when I learned real nursing as I was now dealing with doctors and families. You have to know your limits, your comfortability level, and know when to challenge yourself. By starting with NOCs and moving my way into the AM or PM shifts, I became a more confident nurse as I knew and recognized my limits.
What is your favorite part of being a nurse?
I have been doing this for 20+ years and I can honestly say I have never said that I hated my job. I know lots of people who say that and that has never been the case. I am so incredibly lucky. With nursing, there are so many different choices. If you feel burned out in one area, you can always change areas, change shifts, and try something new. This is what excites me and what I love most about being a nurse. I can constantly evolve and continue learning.
What makes you smile at work?
When the patient feels good and they are showing signs of getting better that is when I am truly happy, because my care is making a difference. When I see my patients or their families with smiles on their faces knowing that I will be their nurse, the trust and smile from them really makes my day. I make their day because they know I am here, and their trust on me makes my day and I want to be better and do the best for them…
What life lessons or inspiration have you gathered from nursing?
I feel like I learn something new everyday. I am constantly learning from my patients. They teach me so many life lessons. NurseRegistry has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people. I pay close attention to how other families communicate with each other, especially the patient. Most recently I was caring for someone who had such a positive mindset and was incredibly appreciative of me and their family. I try to practice these life lessons in my own life with my children.
What is your most treasured memory as a nurse?
Looking back I have definitely had unforgettable patients. I have also realized there are several patients who never forget about the nurse who cared for them. I’ve run into patients on the street and they remember me. I have even had some families call me and check in to see how I am doing. You end up developing such a strong bond with the people you care for.
What advice do you give nurses starting out?
Do your best and get exposed to as much as you can—you will be learning so much. Trust yourself. Nursing school is not easy—if you can get through that, you can get through anything. Know your limit and know that it’s ok to say “I don’t know” and ask for help!
Your Time Off
Favorite ways to relax on your days off?
Rest! I try to rest as much as I can on my days off. I also love YouTube. I love learning new things and seeing things from others perspectives. If you pick the right YouTube channel, you can learn so much!