Finding His Niche
Erik Valerio, RN
Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit
Like many nurses, Erik Valerio, RN, says there’s no such thing as a standard day because you never know what will come through the door. As a nurse in the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (ICU), he knows it could either be incredibly hectic or very low-key, but there are some aspects that are a constant. “No matter what the situation, you know there will be a high level of collaboration and support,” he says. “We truly do all work as a team.”
Before coming to Inova, Valerio worked at a community hospital, where he learned numerous aspects of nursing. But he was interested in being in a critical care environment, and he knew that Inova had several unique specialties where he could thrive and grow.
When he landed in the Neuroscience ICU, he knew it was a good fit. He initially went through a fellowship, which proved invaluable.
Although he had experience in nursing, Valerio wasn’t familiar with neuroscience-related diagnoses and intensive care. Because of Inova’s culture, he learned about both very quickly, and that made a big difference in patient care, he believes.
“I was able to have a level of confidence when communicating with patients and their families,” he says. “Also, it opened my eyes to what nursing really is and what it could be. At Inova, you can expand your wings as a nurse.”
Now, he spends his days deepening his communication skills — both with patients and also with fellow nurses and physicians and others. He notes that there’s a sense of camaraderie and teamwork that flows from nurses and doctors to techs and even housekeeping. “We are truly united for patient care,” he says. “I see that every day, and it’s what makes me proud to be at Inova.”