A Lifetime of Care - How a VA Nurse is Making a Difference

Young Government Leaders (YGL) and GovLoop present the NextGen Public Service Awards for superior public service and achievement. The 5th Annual NextGen Public Service Awards will be given at the 2015 NextGen Award’s Ceremony, which will kick of the NextGen Training Summit on July 20th and 21st in Washington, DC. This year we have 30 finalists – the NextGen 30. Over the next month we will introduce you to our finalists through this blog series.

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Meet the Finalist:

Who: Christine Azevedo, Staff Nurse, Department of Veteran Affairs

Achievement: NextGen Public Service Finalist, Silent Heroes Category

“Christine is an outstanding friend, nurse, daughter and co-worker. She cares for all the paralyzed veterans in her care with such warmth. She never stops caring, when she goes home from a 10 hour workday, she starts caring for her father who has been diagnosed with lung cancer after serving in the Marines. Christine is a bright light for veterans and her family in and out of the hospital,” said Sonny Fernandes, a colleague who nominated Azevedo.

Azevedo has spent her entire professional career dedicated to public service. She joined the Army while still in high school and left for basic training just 10 days after graduation. “I served from 1997 to 2004 and during that time I was an Army medic. It seemed like the good fit for me to go from that into nursing” she explained.

But becoming a nurse is no easy feat. Azevedo spent two years in a hospital based nursing school where she got on the job training. “I worked for the VA as a nursing assistant during that time that I was in nursing school. Then in 2006 I got hired as a nurse and that’s what I’ve been doing since.”

Now Azevedo works with spinal cord injured veterans at the VA. “I’m also a veteran, so I feel like I have some experience that injured veterans can relate to. I understand a little of what they’ve been through,” said Azevedo.

Her desire to help doesn’t end when the workday is over. Azevedo volunteers to help find homes for abandoned pets. “I have been able to find homes for two dogs already this year.” She also donates her time to raise money for injured veterans by running races. “I’ve always been an active person and I really I enjoy exercise. I am always signing up for races that earn money for local charities I’ve been earning money for the Run to Home Base Program, which helps traumatic brain injured veterans and people with PTSD.”

All of the work both on the job and off could stress the average person out, but not Azevedo. “I’m ex-military, so I have pretty good handle on time management. Making sure you get everything done is one of the first things they teach you in basic training. For me balancing everything is necessary so I make it happen.”

That dedicated spirit to service in evident in Azevedo, “I am in public service because I like people. I like to help people. It’s fulfilling to be a nurse. You see people on their hardest days and sometimes you get to see them make improvements that nobody ever expected. It’s very rewarding.”

We will be talking to all the NextGen Public Service Award finalists in the upcoming weeks. See the full list here. Finally, register to attend the Awards Ceremony to get to know the NextGen 30 in-person!

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