Having met in 1985 while going through one of the first new graduate registered
nurse programs at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Lydia Salas, RN, lead
nurse, and Cheryl Boyd, RN, BSN, have now known each other for 29 years.
And while they practiced in different areas of the hospital for several
years, Salas settled into her current job in 1993 as a pre-admission RN.
She then recruited Boyd to her department in 1997. They have been co-workers
Salas and Boyd have nearly 60 years of professional nursing experience
between them. And with that comes a vast knowledge of the details regarding
both the medical and surgical experience from a patient’s perspective.
Since surgery can be a stressful event for patients, having them meet
with one of these registered nurses prior to surgery is one way that Torrance
Memorial aims to ease anxieties.
The two colleagues find tremendous satisfaction in their roles in the pre-admission
department. And for both, it is evident that the innate role of nurturer
extends beyond the hospital walls into their personal lives.
Salas has always enjoyed helping people, which is what led her to a career
in nursing. She has a great family life, is happily married and has two
wonderful sons who are now grown.
An avid exerciser, Salas used to run marathons with her husband for about
10 years when they were first married. However, as her sons were growing
up, she found that life became a bit too busy to continue marathon running.
As a working mom of two who wanted as much time as possible with her children,
she transitioned into walking about 15 years ago. Never discounting the
importance of exercise, she still walks to and from work—between
2½ and five miles per day.
A lover of languages, Salas puts her knowledge of Spanish (she studied
it in school) to good use. She is the go-to interpreter for her department
when the need arises for patients who cannot speak English. Salas recently
began studying Italian, in the hopes of making a trip to Italy.
Similar to Salas, Boyd has always enjoyed caring for others and knew early
on that she wanted to become a nurse. While growing up, her parents were
foster parents to other children. She saw at a young age how good parenting
could impact a child in a positive way.
Fifteen years ago, while already a practicing nurse, she pursued a state
license to become a foster parent herself so she could provide respite
care to foster parents for their children. She segued into becoming a
full-time foster mom about seven years ago, when her parents—who
were foster parents at the time to a high school-aged son—relocated
Not wanting to uproot the child during this important time before college,
it was decided that he would become Boyd’s foster son. She cared
for him for two years and then saw him off to college. Her second and
current foster son has been with her for five years—since he was
13 months old. In her spare time, Boyd teaches Sunday school and loves
to cook, creating meals for the people of the church for a variety of
activities and functions.
These dedicated nurturers are a natural fit at the hospital, where they
provide a shoulder to lean on for patients and answer questions prior
to their surgeries. This often goes a long way in alleviating emotional
stress for patients. “I love what I do and enjoy making patients
feel that someone cares,” explains Salas.
Because the pre-surgical process is overseen by these nurses, their work
also helps prevent last-minute cancellations of surgical procedures due
to missing tests, abnormal labs or uninformed patients who may have not
known when to fast prior to surgery or when to stop (or continue) certain
They also play the role of teacher by guiding patients through the pre-surgical
testing process, advising them of their pre-operative instructions and
giving them insight into the post-surgical period regarding recovery times
and expected outcomes, which can all vary with each patient and procedure.
While anticipating surgery, “patients can be very anxious. We try
to give each patient what they need to put them at ease,” says Boyd.