For many in the profession, nursing isn’t what you do, it’s who you are. Darleen Cameron lives out that credo every day.
Cameron, nominated by a co-worker, has been immersed in the nursing world all her life. “My mom is a nurse, so I was exposed to nursing at a young age,” Cameron says. “Two of my other sisters are also nurses.”
Family got her started, and family of a sort has kept her going. The relationships that Cameron has forged during her extensive career at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, mainly in labor and delivery, have helped others and herself get through some of life’s darkest days.
“I had a patient whose baby wasn’t so fortunate, and she was near term,” Cameron says. “I took care of her all three nights and helped her create good memories, because I knew once she left the hospital, she would not be able to create those memories.
“We created a bond, and she always sought me out at the support meetings. Next pregnancy, she kept in contact and wanted me to be there, so I was. It was a little boy, and I asked her his name, and she said ‘You don’t know? I named him for you.’ She named him Cameron. Little did I know, four years later, my son would die and our bond would come back full circle.”
Her son’s death, a suicide, moved Cameron toward another path. “I am a very proud advocate for suicide prevention, working with The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). I have also been walk chair for the Out of the Darkness walk for the past five years. My advocacy is when I meet with representatives about legislation for mental health. My volunteer work is to bring those programs into schools and educate on how to recognize the signs, even peer-to-peer,” Cameron says.
“Once I started this work, St. David’s was very supportive,” she says. “It’s nice that your work family supports your efforts, and the hospital and the foundation support the work to go out into the community as well. I have worked at St. David’s since 2001, including 9 years in nursing administration as a Hospital Supervisor, and it is an honor for me to get to work with them.”
Though it comes as no surprise to those who know her, Cameron was indeed surprised to learn of her nomination. “Part of what I am excited about is that people might look at me, as a nurse, and see my work with suicide prevention and see someone who is fighting that fight.”