APRIL 2010

UCLA PEOPLE
 

Jessica Kubisch, Clinical Nurse II, R.N., B.S.N., Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

Nurse Shares Her Love of Helping Others in Need, at UCLA and All Over the World

Jessica, who recently returned from Haiti, enjoys using her skills as a nurse and showing love for others by volunteering her time for medical missions around the world.

What are your job responsibilities?
I am a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) caring for a broad spectrum of patients from around the country and the world, from newborns to 21-year-olds. We treat patients for head trauma, cardiomyopathy, organ transplantation (liver, small bowel, pancreas, kidney), cancer, post-operative care, multi-system organ failure, sepsis, abuse and other diagnoses.

How long have you worked at UCLA?
I graduated from Franciscan University of Steubenville in May 2008 and started work in the PICU as part of the innovative New Graduate Residency Program at UCLA and also the PICU’s Clinical Advancement Program. I’ve been working here ever since. I love the PICU and my colleagues!

You recently went to Haiti as part of the Operation Haiti team. How was your experience there?
I was so honored and blessed to be part of UCLA’s Operation Haiti team. I’m definitely not the same person after going and it has taught me about the incredible strength, hope and resiliency of the human spirit. The sheer poverty and suffering really struck me, but perhaps the most incredible aspect of the trip was just how strong and loving these people are even after having lost their loved ones, their limbs, their houses, their health and literally everything else.

What do you remember most of your trip?
The faces of the children there are constantly on my mind. Many have lost their parents, siblings, friends, homes, everything they have ever known and we were treating them for serious injuries, such as broken limbs, facial fractures, wounds, infection and sepsis.

I remember 8-year-old Davy who had lost the majority of one arm and a leg below the knee. His remaining foot was very injured, and he suffered severe facial fractures that took the majority of the structure of his nose. On the USNS Comfort (the ship where our team was based), the medical team had done several skin grafts, tending to both stumps and harvesting tissue from his forehead to recreate a nose. Davy was such a brave, loving child who rarely complained but smiled and charmed us all with his great attitude as he played in his wheelchair. Davy and the other children taught me so much about hope and strength in the face of adversity and suffering.

What other volunteer work have you done?
Medical missions are very close to my heart. I just recently returned from a medical mission in Ecuador where volunteer translators, nurses and doctors hiked into very remote indigenous communities in the Amazon basin to provide medical care and health teaching. I have also worked at a medical clinic in the Dominican Republic and in the U.S. at a free medical clinic for those who do not have healthcare.

What drives you to be so passionate about your job and inspires you to volunteer?
All of us have so much to give — our time, our education, our love — to our fellow brothers and sisters here and around the world who need a little help. I sincerely believe that we are all called to love one another and that our actions can change the world, one smile at a time. I find inspiration from Mother Teresa, who said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”

What do you find most rewarding about your job and volunteer work?
There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child who was in the shadow of death overcome all odds and recover. It is humbling and so rewarding to be part of the healing process. To just be with patients and their families through hard times is so rewarding.

What are your personal hobbies?
I really enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, road trips, camping, reading, hiking, being outdoors, volleyball and biking.