Know Your Leader: Selena Yamasaki, RN, BSN

Current job: Clinical manager medical/surgical, Newton Medical Center.

Family: My husband of 12 years, Mark, and three kids: Brannon (17), Malaya (12) and Marlee (4).

What makes a good leader? “I think what makes me a good leader is I realize who my real boss is — the staff on the unit! I work hard to advocate for my staff and ensure that they are in a safe and efficient work environment. I also believe that one of my biggest jobs as a manager is to remove barriers that take staff away from the bedside. I have found that if you take care of your employees, they take better care of your patients.”

What are you most proud of in your career? “My participation in the creation of a program for pediatric cystic fibrosis patients that outlined specific team interventions to promote health in this population. The program focused the interdisciplinary team to work toward common goals for the patients that did lead to better patient outcomes.”

Who has inspired or mentored you? “My mom and my mother-in-law both inspire me immensely. They both have overcome so many challenges in life and through all the tough times they remain dedicated moms, grandmas and strong women. They have always been available to help me balance my family and my work responsibilities. While they encourage me to reach my professional goals, they also help keep me grounded and remind me where my real priorities should remain. Both are amazing caring, strong and giving women who I strive to be more like every day.
“Professionally, I have been mentored by so many great nurses, but a few definitely stick out. I still keep in touch with one of my very first preceptors, Mae Carr, who everyone told me was mean and scary when I was assigned to her. I never found her to be mean or scary and I soaked up every bit of knowledge I could from her. She was the best IV stick I had ever seen (still is) and responded to emergent situations  with a calmness that I still admire today. As I grew in my career, I was blessed to become peers with two phenomenal nurse managers who taught me what the real meaning of leadership was. Marsha Jackson and Lisa Hensley have both mentored me to become the leader I am today .”

What’s your favorite thing to do away from work? “Traveling. I love to see new places, try new foods and meet different people. As a family, we love to be in a new city, state or country and seek out remote places where the tourists wouldn’t normally go.”

Who is your favorite fictional nurse? “Cherry Ames. I had never heard of Cherry Ames until one of my peers mentioned her to me a few years ago. She told me that Cherry Ames is what made her want to be a nurse because the character had all these great adventures. I read a few of the books after talking with my peer that day and quickly realized that Cherry was a great representative of the nursing profession .”

What’s your favorite guilty pleasure? “ 'Duck Dynasty.’ I love curling up on the couch with the family for a 'Duck Dynasty’ marathon .”

Tell us something that nobody at work knows about you: “ I think the thing most people will be surprised about is how different I am at home from how I am at work. At work, I am very organized and a little OCD. I like schedules and to-do lists and sticky notes that remind me of things. When I get home I let all that go and nothing is organized, planned or done on a schedule, and we would never create an itinerary when we go on trips or outings .”

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