When we go to the hospital, we see the doctor and they give us a diagnosis on our health—good or bad. But before we see the doctor, we make first contact with a nurse. He or she receives all of our information, takes our vitals and prepares us for the doctor. Joann Boyd is a nurse in the Neurology Department at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, meeting the needs of the community every day. She was the recipient of the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses in 2013 and 2015.
“I have been practicing as a licensed vocational nurse for approximately 31 years,” said Boyd. “I was inspired to become a nurse at the very young age of six-years-old.”
Originally from Los Angeles, Boyd was born and raised in Inglewood, CA. She attended and graduated from Morningside High School. After high school, Boyd immediately enrolled in a private nursing program “Pacific Coast College” which was located in Culver City. She graduated from nursing school in August of 1987.
“My mother was a nurse and she often took me to work with her,” said Boyd. “She would dress me up in a little white dress and make me feel as though I was a nurse.”
Boyd continued, “She would allow me to walk the halls with her while passing medications to her patients.
“She would allow me to assist her with pouring juice/water for her patients.”
Boyd stated how she loved to see patient’s faces light up when they saw her. The priceless exposure her mother allowed her to participate in lit a passion within her. Boyd decided to become a nurse and help heal people as a career. During her journey, she would work in various departments gathering valuable experience.
“During my 31 years of nursing, I have worked in various departments such as Emergency/Urgent Care for five years, Hematology/Oncology for four years, Bariatric Surgery for three years, Pediatrics for six years, and Neurology for eight years,” said Boyd.
She shared a little about her daily routine as a nurse in the neurology department. Boyd works in a very serious department at Kaiser West L.A. and takes her job seriously as the cases that are brought to this department must be taken seriously.
“Neurology is a very special and challenging department,” said Boyd. “When you think of neurology you think of the ‘Brain,’ the entire Central Nervous System and all of its functions.”
She continued, “In Neurology, I am faced with patient’s who may be suffering from many disorders such as seizures, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, neuropathy, migraines, bells palsy, etc.
“In neurology we perform procedures such as lumbar punctures for diagnosing purposes. My role as a nurse is to provide total patient care, medication administration, injection/intravenous therapy as indicated.”
Boyd’s mother passed away fighting pancreatic cancer last year, but her memory lives on through Boyd’s career. She keeps her mother’s nursing awards on her mantle as a reminder of what makes for a good nurse and remembers her mother’s words, “you never know who is watching you.
“Be who you are every day.”