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A Plano nurse’s perspective from the front lines



PLANO, TX – Nurse Jose Zamora is the nurse manager in the cardiac department at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. The first time he knew he wanted to be in the medical field, he was just 5 years old. Now, years later, he’s saving lives in Plano. Zamora took a moment to tell the Plano Star Courier what drew him to his field and what he’s doing to relax on his time off. 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Dallas in a neighborhood known as Pleasant Grove.

Did you always know you wanted to be in the medical field?

When I was 5 years old, my grandfather had a heart attack. That day I told him, “When I grow up, I want to be a heart doctor so I can fix your heart.” That event put me on the path to becoming a cardiologist. As time passed, I had family in and out of the hospital for several reasons. 

I appreciated everyone that helped us, but what I realized was each nurse that entered the room cared for the patient and the entire family in the room. The nurse educated us and helped keep us at ease. Even though the doctors did what they could, the nurse gave me a sense of comfort that my family was going to be alright in their care.

Going into high school, this confirmed what I wanted to do as a career.

Did you ever consider working in another field?

I attended the School of Science and Engineering at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center, which was geared toward preparing students for college.

My fellow classmates had career plans that focused on engineering. For a moment, I did entertain the thought of engineering as I enjoyed the mathematical aspect, but my draw to care for people kept me on the path to nursing.

Why Plano?

I graduated from Texas Tech University in Lubbock in 2014. I worked at the local hospital, Covenant Medical Center, for four and a half years as a nurse technician, then a registered nurse after graduation.

I enjoyed the atmosphere there but wanted to find a hospital closer to home. I heard how wonderful Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano was and found that its mission and values mirrored Covenant Medical Center, so I applied.

My wonderful wife, Mina Zamora, was raised in Plano. So that was a plus.

What is the best part about working with patients?

I believe the best part of working with patients is the relationships you form with them and their families.

When I find time between paperwork and documentation, sitting down with a patient to talk is the highlight of my day. When I can make that connection with the patients, I hope to make them forget they are patients in a hospital and instead, people engaging in conversation about life.

Can you share a story about a time you felt confirmed in your work? 

There was a Hispanic family I cared for back in Lubbock, Texas, during my first year in nursing. The patient was in the hospital because he had chest pain days prior. He and his family spoke minimal English, so I did what I could to help them understand what was going on and what we were doing to help.

Suddenly, I got a call from the patient to go into the room. He looked at me and said, “Ayudame … ayudame…” (help me) The patient suddenly became unresponsive. This was my first “code blue” that I called.

My team responded to the call, and we proceeded with CPR. The family was escorted out of the room. We were able to stabilize the patient and move him to the ICU. I spoke with the family to help comfort them best I could.

The patient recovered days later and was able to go home. A few weeks later, the family came to visit me on my unit and the daughter told me, “Thank you for saving my dad.”

At that moment, I knew I had chosen the right path of becoming a nurse.

What are you doing these days to relax?

I enjoy spending time with my wife, Mina, at home playing cards and board games. On normal days, we try to stay active with sports like tennis, basketball and golf.

What are you looking forward to right now?

I am looking forward to seeing our family. I am part of a big family, and normally we see each other pretty often.

The family would typically gather at my mother’s house and have a big cookout or barbecue. I think that’s what I am looking forward to the most.

Are you keeping up with any music or television?

My wife and I don’t watch much television, just re-runs of “The Office” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

What are you most proud of in the medical community right now?

I am proud of the way the medical community has come together to answer the call to help the people around the world. The support we share amongst healthcare providers as a whole is what helps push us through these times. The bravery of the staff to continue going to work each day, praying they are doing enough to protect the patients, their families and themselves.

I have observed that first-hand on the unit I currently work on, which is the designated cohort unit at Texas Health Plano, 5C intermediate cardiac unit.

I am proud to be a part of this team that has taken on this task head-on. Even though some were anxious, they continued to provide excellent care to the patients on our unit. As a team, we will continue to do our best to care for all patients that arrive in our unit.