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Nurse Gabriela Valencia Nakano is Investing in the Future

Gabriela Valencia Nakano, ACNP-BC, is grateful for support in getting the advanced skills she needed to make her an expert in providing care to hospitalized patients with complex needs.

We're living longer than ever before. That's good news.

It also means we need more highly educated and skilled healthcare professionals to take care of us and our loved ones.

Gabriela Valencia Nakano has devoted her career to taking care of older patients in critical care. She spent more than 12 years caring for patients in cardiac critical care, including older patients who often have competing and complex medical needs.

Gabriela began her career as a travel nurse—a nurse who takes assignments for set periods of time where the need is greatest. When she found a permanent position with the cardiothoracic intensive care unit, she encountered patients every day who needed specialized care.

Her work with them inspired her to specialize in gerontology and get additional education to provide a more advanced level of care.

As an employee, Gabriela was eligible to apply for education assistance from Cedars-Sinai, including scholarships that helped pay for her classes, books, and materials.

The support of her fellow employees was also important. She gives special credit to Alice Chen, a clinical nurse specialist and manager who assisted her in applying for the funding.

"Alice is very pro-education and always supports the staff nurses in going back to school," Gabriela says. "It's manageable here because Cedars-Sinai makes our schedules flexible enough. That's a big part of it."

Now Gabby—as her friends and family call her—is Gabriela Valencia Nakano, ACNP-BC. The strand of letters after her name stands for Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Board Certified, signifying to her colleagues and patients that she has advanced skills and is an expert in providing care to hospitalized patients with complex needs.

"Without the financial support Cedars-Sinai gives to their employees to further their education, and without the flexibility of my schedule, I could not have received my master's degree in advance practice nursing," she says.

While Gabriela was finishing her education, she and her husband Nelson were starting their family. She graduated in March 2017 with her master's degree and around the same time, new baby Kyler joined the Nakanos' 2-year-old daughter, Violet.

"My family is forever grateful ," Gabriela says of her colleagues' support and the opportunity to further her education.

Gabriela is a grateful employee and supporter of the Campaign for Cedars-SinaiLearn more about the Campaign.

Are you a grateful patient, family member, volunteer, or loyal supporter? We want to hear from you. Your story can inspire others who may be facing similar challenges—and most importantly, provide hope. Share your story of gratitude or see how others are sharing #CedarsGratitude.