Adventist GlenOaks Hospital's Nurse of the Year, Amelissa Sarrol, once had a very different profession in mind.
"Initially, I wanted to be a nun or a missionary," the Glendale Heights resident said. "My other option was psychology."
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Her parents encouraged her to consider a field she could develop into a career. Today, Sarrol works as a nurse in the Behavioral Health Unit at Adventist GlenOaks Hospital in Glendale Heights.
She has a passion for her work. Though patients in Behavioral Health can have similar diagnoses, their symptoms and challenges can be very different, she said. The interventions that must be taken to help those patients are all unique to each individual.
"Even when I know their diagnosis may be chronic, when I see one of my depressed patients smile, it gives me joy to know that, by listening to them, I made them feel a little bit happy," Sarrol said.
She's not the only nurse in her family. Sarrol remembers being young and seeing her older sister come home dressed in her nurse's uniform. Her sister was someone she could look up to, she said, and Sarrol's sister inspired her to pursue nursing.
Sarrol's love for her work is apparent in all she does, said Maria Knecht, the hospital's vice president and chief nursing officer.
"She makes this appear effortless," Knecht said. "This is who she is, what she loves, and that displays itself in all the positive things that the staff, patients and leaders say about her."
Among those who nominated Sarrol for this year's award was a patient, who said Sarrol shows genuine concern for patients and takes time to ask them questions, engaging them when assessing their conditions.
"People who have mental illnesses would lead healthier, more productive lives if all nurses, doctors and mental health officials were like Aimee," the patient said. "Aimee treats her patients like humans, with respect and dignity."
Sarrol was chosen for the award from a field of 27 nominees, Knecht said. Award winners are strong role models, contributing to the hospital's mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ while demonstrating care and compassion, as well as leadership qualities that show potential for growth.
One colleague in her nomination said Sarrol displayed a true "Christ-like compassion" and credited her for her work in the hospital's program committee to advance psychiatric programming at the hospital. Sarrol is also a spiritual ambassador at the hospital, a role she took on this year.
Originally from the Philippines, Sarrol has been a registered nurse for 23 years, joining the Adventist GlenOaks Hospital staff a little more than two years ago. She is in the process of pursuing her master's degree and is working on board certification in psychiatric nursing.