The Nurse That Brings Saving Lives To The Next Level

I had the pleasure of meeting Tania Yarema thirteen years ago when traveling Nursing brought us to San Francisco and we settled into the ICU at UCSF Mt. Zion Hospital. I was working per-diem when Tania arrived for her travel assignment. Since then my critical care skills have narrowed to high-risk obstetrics. Tania, on the other hand is a highly respected critical care Nurse Practitioner that places central lines, intubates unstable patients and gives the term "saving lives" deeper meaning..

 How long have you been a nurse (and/or NP) and what areas of nursing did you or do you currently work in?  I relocated to the United States (Hays, Kansas) after graduating nursing school in Canada in 1996. Two years later, I moved to North Carolina for a critical care training program, before moving to San Francisco with my best friend as traveling Nurses.

I decided to go back to graduate school and completed an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at UCSF in 2008 and have been practicing inpatient critical care medicine ever since. One of my newest experiences in nursing is teaching.  As an Assistant Professor at UCSF School of Nursing, I have been enjoying teaching in the same program I graduated from. 

Tania with friends from UCSF Acute Care NP program

Tania with friends from UCSF Acute Care NP program

What do you love most about nursing? There are so many aspects of nursing that I love. Having the opportunity to help someone in their most challenging moments as a patient is the most rewarding aspect of my job. People are extremely vulnerable as patients, and if I can ease and comfort them along the way, I’ve done my job.

Tell me your biggest challenges or concerns about nursing.  Healthcare is big business and we have the potential to lose sight of what is really important, such as compassion, listening, education and humanity. With all of the incredible scientific advances in medicine, sometimes we lose sight of connecting with the people who need us most.

What throws you off balance and how do you know you are out of balance? When I have been working consecutive days in the ICU with high acuity, I can definitely get lost in the sadness of it all. I feel it physically, like a generalized heaviness that I cant shake.

What brings you back into balance?  Spending time outside with my son and people closest to me realigns me. It honestly takes a couple of days to lose the feeling of imbalance, especially if I have been having a particularly difficult week. I get so swept up in the moment and with other people’s lives that I often lose balance in my own. Recognizing how lucky we are to be healthy and happy is something I try to do each day.

Tell me about your most favorite nursing job and why.  I really love being a Nurse Practitioner but I would have to say, my favorite nursing job was at UCSF Mount Zion (MZ) Comprehensive Cancer Center. I was a bedside critical care nurse there for over 10 years. We specialized in surgical oncology and I loved our patient population. The nurses, doctors, and ancillary staff at MZ were the best of the best. The compassion and dedication that we provided to this patient population is something I will never forget, and will most likely never get to experience again.

What advice would you give to new grads starting out?  Please keep in mind why you went into nursing. It is a privilege to be able to help people in their time of need. They are so vulnerable and what you do will impact them for the rest of their lives.

Tania and her colleagues at CPMC

Tania and her colleagues at CPMC