Westfield Woman Enjoys Role As Transplant Nurse

Joyce Fiorentino’s story as a registered nurse began when she was 19 years old.
“I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and was working as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home, when I ran into a childhood friend at a party. She told me about going to nursing school in Philadelphia and how interesting it was, especially watching surgeons in the operating room. I thought it was something I would like to try and applied to the school – and it was the best thing I’ve ever done,” said Fiorentino, a transplant nurse at Baystate Medical Center.
Now a resident of Westfield, Fiorentino attended the diploma nursing school connected with Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, where she lived in their nursing school residence for two years. After graduating in 1978, Fiorentino accepted a position at Massachusetts General for one year before moving to Springfield where she developed a love for working with dialysis patients at a freestanding dialysis clinic. Eventually, she found her way to Baystate Medical Center, where before joining the transplant team, Fiorentino spent time working on the hospital’s renal floor and in the acute dialysis unit.
During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, the work of America’s 3.1 million registered nurses like Fiorentino to maintain the health of millions of individuals will be celebrated throughout Baystate Health and around the country. This year’s theme, “Nurses: Advocating, Leading, Caring,” is designed to raise awareness of the value of nursing – the nation’s largest health care profession – and help educate the public about the role nurses play in meeting the health care needs of a diverse population.
“I found being a dialysis nurse to be a nice balance between the technical aspects of nursing and the patient connection because you are able to build a long-term relationship with your patients,” said Fiorentino.
When asked about recommending the nursing profession to someone, Fiorentino  had no qualms about it.
“What’s not isn’t great about being a nurse! . It’s a wonderful career. You can work anywhere in the world and you can care for patients from birth until the end of their lives. People think very highly of nurses and depend on them for care. It’s a great profession, very rewarding, but challenging, and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” said Fiorentino.
Now working as a transplant nurse alongside patients who are waiting for a new kidney, Fiorentino said she is concentrating on getting the word out to the public about the need for more living donors – especially as the number of available kidneys from deceased donors cannot meet the demand of the many patients on the waiting list.
Sponsored by the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week is devoted to highlighting the many ways in which registered nurses are working to improve health care. Often described as an art and a science, nursing is a profession that  embraces dedicated people with varied interests, strengths and passions because of the many opportunities the profession offers from working in hospitals to school-based clinics and long-term care facilities, to mention just a few. And, nurses have many roles from staff nurse to educator to nurse practitioner and nurse researcher.
National Nurses Week begins May 6 and ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, founder of nursing as a modern profession. During this week, registered nurses throughout the country and at Baystate Medical Center will be honored in several ways including displays of research conducted by Baystate nurses, a nursing gala and awards ceremony, and various educational activities.
Baystate Medical Center has been re-designated for the second time as a Magnet hospital for excellence in nursing services – a distinction that places the hospital’s nursing staff among the finest in the nation. Nationally, only about 6.7% of all health care organizations carry Magnet designations.
For more information on Baystate Medical Center, visit

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