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“I’m there to be the nurse’s voice.”
Speaking up for others is something Indiana University Health cardiac nurse Guadalupe “Liz” Montero has never shied away from. At age 13, she became an advocate and caregiver for her mother, who was undergoing dialysis. While her peers were participating in typical teenage activities, Montero was learning how to monitor blood pressure and sort medications. With the support of her extended family, Montero stepped up to be her mother’s primary caretaker, and voice, for close to a decade.
It was this experience that first propelled her toward a career in nursing.
While Montero was pursuing her degree at Ball State University, her mother – her inspiration – passed away. Despite her grief, she knew that her mother’s greatest wish was to see her achieve her goals. And she did — after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in nursing, Montero began her career as a cardiac nurse at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital.
Liz believes her experience caring for her mother gave her a unique perspective in her role as a nurse. “I was on the other side of the bedside,” she says. “I know what families feel. I understand what it’s like.”
Now, nine years later, Montero is continuing to use her voice to help not only patients and families, but other nurses as well. She is heavily involved in shared governance at IU Health, an initiative that pairs leadership with bedside nurses to address policy concerns and challenges. Through her work, Montero helps ensure that nurses have the supplies and resources they need, along with assistance in breaking down barriers and overcoming the hurdles they face in a rapidly changing field.
“I am one of those people who’s not afraid to say, ‘This isn't working. We need to try something else.’ There's a disconnect sometimes between staff and leadership. I feel that I can fill in that spot,” she said.
In addition to shaping policy, Montero is continuing her work at the bedside , and keeping a close eye on the needs of her colleagues and her patients. In her view, philanthropy is a critical way to ensure everyone’s needs are met.
“I’ve seen firsthand the impact that donor generosity has on the morale of my team,” Montero said. “During the pandemic, community members restocked our break room with food and snacks and drinks. It really showed they cared about us.”
That kindness, Montero has found, can multiply. She sees it in the way her nurses adopt a family in need to support at Christmas, and in the way the hospital’s community outreach meets the needs of patients and family members.
Ultimately, Montero says it’s really about treating others the way you’d treat your own family. For her, that means caring for patients the way she cared for her mother.
To support IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital nurses like Montero, consider a gift to the hospital’s Area of Greatest Need Fund.