Mark Santiago
May 2020
Riverside Community Hospital
United States




In the current healthcare climate, very seldom do we hear the term passion associated with our commitment to care. It is more often our primary focus after a decrease in patient satisfaction scores when we encourage behaviors to help generate a certain feeling or perception from our patients and patients' families. I believe true passion for something (healthcare/nursing in this instance) is exemplified and practiced no matter the setting and should not be treated like a light switch. For certain, how we truly care for each other is not limited to a hospital setting or to nurses, but it speaks to the heart and the passion to go beyond what is required.
Mark Santiago began the new graduate STARN program at Riverside Community Hospital in September 2019. After completion, Mark felt called to work on the Oncology/Medical-Surgical Unit where he is able to have an impact on this particular patient population.
Over the past ten 10 years, Mark has been a blood donor. Three years ago, during a blood drive in nursing school, a representative from "Be the Match" spoke to the students. The representative informed them of the program and the entire donation process. Mark was interested, proceeded to give a saliva sample, and was entered into the database.
Two years later, Mark received a phone call from "Be the Match" informing him he was a match for a 66-year-old female diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Lymphoma. After a telephone interview with regard to his current health history, he was asked to provide an additional blood sample to assure he was the best match. Six months later, Mark received a phone call stating he was indeed a perfect match.
"Be the Match" allowed Mark a couple of days to think it over and speak with his family and friends on what his process would be for his bone marrow donation. After two days, Mark knew he wanted to continue with the process and proceeded to give another blood sample and complete a physical to receive an okay for the donation.
During his preparation for the donation, Mark was prescribed Neupogen. Neupogen is a medication designed to stimulate the production of white blood cells, usually for the treatment of neutropenic patients. Mark had to administer Neupogen daily for five days prior to donation. While taking Neupogen, he experienced side effects such as bone pain, back pain, and headaches all while working full-time and settling as a new Registered Nurse.
On donation day, a couple of 16 g needles were inserted into a vein in each arm. The lines were connected to the apheresis machine. For the next six hours, Mark would have to lay still until the necessary amount of stem cells were filtered. With continued side effects after the donation process, Mark said he would do it all over again because he has never felt so fulfilled to be able to contribute such a gift to a stranger.
Many may be able to find the definition of passion in the dictionary. However, I challenge us all to include passion in our daily interactions and how we care.
Mark is, has, and continues to exemplify passion. We are proud to have him on our team. I would like to recognize and encourage such passion to remain consistent throughout his nursing career, as I know it will.