Calling the Shots

Sandra Raymond
Medical / Surgical Oncology Unit Director
A.S. Nursing, 2005

When Sandra Raymond takes care of her patients, she thinks about her own family.

“I love my family very much. I wouldn’t want any member of my family to go into a hospital and be injured because of a lack of knowledge,’’ said Raymond, a registered nurse and director of the Medical/Surgical Oncology Unit and Outpatient Infusion Therapy Services at Bethesda Hospital East.

Her deep passion for quality health care helped her advance quickly in her career at Bethesda. Initially believing that she wanted to become a teacher, the Haiti native who was raised in Miami took an anatomy and physiology class during her high school senior year and fell in love with it. She researched careers that revolved around the subject, and she decided to pursue nursing.

She completed an Associate in Science degree in nursing in 2005, and during her last year at Palm Beach State, she worked at Bethesda Hospital East as a nurse intern. Upon graduation, she became a “graduate nurse,” working under the supervision of a nurse. As a graduate nurse, she took her state board exam in 2006 and passed the first time. She then began a full-time nursing position in the Medical Surgical Telemetry Unit at Bethesda.

“By the time I received my [nursing] license I was almost done with the training, and I was on my own right away,’’ she said. While working full time at Bethesda, she pursued her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at Florida Atlantic University and graduated in December 2007. In addition to her hospital duties, she began working per diem at other medical facilities.  When the Oncology Unit merged with the Medical Surgical Telemetry Unit, through the hospital, she earned her certification to administer chemotherapy and biotherapy.

She became clinical manager of the unit in 2014, and she served for one year before becoming director. She also obtained her Master of Business Administration degree in Health Care from Florida International University, graduating in December 2015.

She says her perseverance as well as the quality of the education she received from Palm Beach State prepared her for her career. “I am very driven. It’s very important for me to be competent and knowledgeable so that I can safely take care of patients. When a patient walks into a hospital, they really don’t know your level of education or even your body of knowledge. However, they are looking to you for safe care, so they don’t get injured or come out with something more than what they came in with. It’s important to me to be knowledgeable and properly trained and to dig a little deeper into the nursing literature.”

In her role she focuses on the quality of the care and keeping her staff motivated. “Every day I try to do a little bit more to help with the morale there to make sure we are practicing in a way that is safe for the patients and that our processes and policies reflect the kind of care that we want to provide.”