The Pulse | Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Empowering GI Professional Diversity Scholarship: Spotlight on Jay Lardizabal, MAN RN CGRN
Earlier this year, SGNA announced its first recipients of the Empowering GI Professional Diversity Scholarship. The scholarship program, supported by Boston Scientific Corporation, focuses on increasing diversity and inclusion within the GI profession, and awards six recipients $50,000 in scholarship funds to pursue coursework toward bachelor’s, master’s or doctorate degrees in nursing, or nursing RN program classes.
We caught up with one of the SGNA member recipients — Jay Lardizabal, MAN RN CGRN — to discover how they entered the profession, plans for their career and lessons they’ve learned along the way.
When and how did you first become interested in the GI nursing profession?
My career started out as a registry registered nurse (RN) where I was assigned to different units. In 2010, I covered for a nurse on leave at the GI lab at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center. While I was working, I realized that endoscopic procedures are about more than just esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) and colonoscopies. I got first-hand experience with high-tech equipment and gadgets.
Working in the GI department also allowed me to advocate for patients and be a part of a great team that supported each other. I learned to love gastroenterology and, needless to say, I became a permanent member of the department after only a few months.
A few years later, I became a member of SGNA and have been attending the Annual Course ever since. I never hesitated to submit posters and do podium presentations because I know that these do not only teach others, but also help me grow as a GI professional.
Can you share your plans for your career? How will this scholarship help you achieve your goals?
In the past, people regarded nurses as helpers and assistants to doctors. However, nursing leaders changed misconceptions using the most effective weapon: education. Modern nurses are no longer confined at the bedside, but ubiquitous in many other settings, including specialty areas and advanced practice. Nurses are taking leadership roles and directing patient care.
As a nurse who understands the importance of this legacy, it is vital to take an active part in the profession and take a leadership role by advancing one's education. Leadership may come from innate character, but effective leadership is acquired. That is why I am pursuing a higher degree to become an advanced practice nurse, a leader who can influence younger generations and inspire them for excellence. As the opportunities are becoming endless with the profession's growth, it is clear that we also need to increase the number of nurse leaders.
What is one of the proudest moments you’ve had thus far in your career and why?
Being an active member of SGNA opened up so many opportunities for me. I am proud to say that in the many years of volunteering, I was able to take part in planning for the biggest yearly event of SGNA: the Annual Course. In the years that I served as a member of the program committee, I learned the importance of confidence, team work and motivational leadership to reach goals. I am proud to say that the Annual Courses our team organized were highly successful, even in the face of the pandemic.
What is one thing you’ve learned about GI nursing that may help others with their own professional journey?
I first thought of becoming a nurse practitioner (NP) a long time ago, but many things got in the way. I did not have the courage to get out of my comfort zone and was too afraid that I was not good enough, or even smart enough, to do it. My plan for a higher degree got pushed not only for a couple of years, but a full decade. It was only in 2019 when the pandemic made me realize how fast time went by, I could have been practicing as an NP by now. I can regret over the time lost, but I realized that success is not only measured by who finishes first. If there is one thing I could share to other GI professionals, it is to be courageous, to challenge yourself and push on. It is only then you will find out how capable you are, that you will even surprise yourself for doing things you thought you couldn't do.
Congratulations to the six SGNA members who are the 2021 Empowering GI Professional Diversity Scholarship recipients:
- Jay Lardizabal, MAN, RN, CGRN
- Yoamis Lopez, ST
- Muriel Moyo, MS, BSN, RN, CCRN-K, NE-BC
- Victoria Purpura, BBA, RN, CGRN
- Emily Salisbury, RN
- Jinghong Yu, RN-BC, CGRN