Staff Profile: Meet Kim Pina, RN

Kim Pina, RN, grew up in a Creole-speaking household in the West End of New Bedford. Her mother, born in Cape Verde, immigrated to New Bedford as a teenager and worked at a leather belt factory.

“To listen to my mom’s story about coming over at 17, making a living and learning the language – she didn’t know English when she came here but she learned, became a citizen and was able to raise a family. I’m so proud of that.”

Kim’s dad worked at the Continental Screw Company in New Bedford. “He worked there for years and did carpentry work on the side. He would come home to have dinner with us then go off to his second job and work on people’s homes like remodeling kitchens or wallpapering a room. Definitely a hard worker. My mom and dad showed how much hard work is really important to meet your goals.”

Watching her dad pull double duty to support his family instilled a solid work ethic in Kim. “I was taught that you really have to work hard for anything you want. It’s not given to you. When you go into nursing you realize it’s a lot of hard work. You may go in early and stay late, even as a staff nurse. You’re there for your patients and staff. It’s what I signed up for and I don’t mind if it entails making sure we give our patients the best care.”

Kim’s cultural background is reflected in the patients served by St. Luke’s maternity services and helps in providing care for patients. “Sometimes, patients will speak in Creole and I can understand it; I just can’t speak it back to them.”

Kim says it’s great to be able to live in a diverse community and learn cultural values from our patients. “We have diversity among our patients but also among our employees. There is so much diversity here within this hospital and organization. It is just wonderful to serve our vast and diverse community because we learn from it. We learn from our patients and their cultural beliefs, for example, some of their cultural practices during labor.”

After Kim had her own daughter, she took a part-time administrative assistant job in her obstetrician’s office. “That’s where I began to love obstetrical care, moms and babies, and building their relationship with them. Just from working in the office and seeing them through nine months of pregnancy, then them coming back and seeing their babies. It was an exciting place to work.”

When her obstetrician began talking about retiring, he asked Kim about her future plans. “He encouraged me to go to nursing school. So I did.”

Kim applied at Bristol Community College, taking one class a semester, and graduated in 2001. She accepted a job at St. Luke’s as a medical-surgical nurse. “I kept bugging the Maternity Services Director at the time saying I want a job in OB. She said I needed experience in med-surg.”

After a year and a half, she was offered a position in OB. “I started out as a staff nurse. I was a resource nurse, then a team leader and now a manager. I furthered my education with a BSN from UMass Dartmouth in 2009 and an MSN with a focus in leadership from Walden University in 2011.”

In 2014, Kim stepped away from Southcoast Health for a year to work in a tertiary care center at a teaching facility. “I missed the hometown feeling and the local community. The individualized care here at St. Luke’s is so important to me because I can care one-on-one with patients and get to know them.”

Now, Kim is the St. Luke’s Women & Children’s Pavilion Nurse Manager. “I manage the unit. I also have the clinical background to care for patients if they need me. There have been times I had to put scrubs on and work bedside with patients. We always want to deliver safe patient care.”

Her role also entails ensuring staff is attending educational classes. “I evaluate performance, hire unit staff from nursing to secretaries to scrub techs. I make sure the quality of measures and metrics for the unit are done and meeting the standards.”

Kim does all this while working around a current labor room expansion and a level-II nursery that is transitioning into a future single-room model of care, allowing moms and babies to stay together in a higher level of care. “That is state of the art and we will be the first community hospital in Massachusetts to do that. I think it is exciting. You want to make sure it is right. This will allow us to provide the best care for our patients in our community. Having a baby is a once in a lifetime experience and you want to make it the best experience. You are part of their delivery story forever.”