Matthew Hidalgo (’14) Wins Nursing Award
By Hannah Werthan
When Matthew Hidalgo applied to Molloy College, he wasn't sure what he wanted to study. Luckily, his mom Doris Hidalgo had a good suggestion: become a nurse. Doris, a nurse herself and an adjunct Nursing professor at Molloy, thought the profession would be perfect for her son. Though Matthew was initially somewhat reluctant, he decided to test out the Nursing program as a provisionally-accepted student. After taking a fundamentals class and loving it, Matthew knew he was meant to be a nurse. Matthew is now a three-year veteran of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) at North Shore University Hospital. In December 2016, he won the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.
Matthew's journey to becoming a SICU nurse started when he was still an undergraduate. Nursing students at Molloy do a capstone their senior year where they spend three days a week following a nurse in a unit. Matthew did his capstone in the SICU at North Shore University Hospital. He loved being in the Level One Trauma unit and knew he wanted to work there.
After graduation, he landed a six-month fellowship at the hospital. The fellowship was intense. "There were tests every week and we had to work hard both in the classroom and at home," says Matthew. "However, the experience was invaluable. It gave us a base of knowledge to be able to do our jobs safely and it was a great transition from college to the working world."
Following the successful completion of his fellowship, Matthew began to work full time on the SICU unit. He cares for patients who stay anywhere from a few days to several months or more. Regardless of the length of their time in the SICU, patients become part of the family, he says.
One patient noticed that Matthew was doing an exceptional job and decided to nominate him for national recognition through the DAISY award. Matthew did not know that someone had put him up for the award; in fact, he had never even heard of the DAISY.
One day in late January, the nurse manager called him to the break room. After a colleague was presented with a different award, the nurse manager began to read the letter Matthew's patient had submitted to nominate Matthew. The patient was an FDNY firefighter who was suffering from complications due to leukemia. In his letter, he wrote about how Matthew touched his life during his stay at the hospital. "His skills in dealing with my illness were outstanding but more importantly he gave me emotional support with his compassion," the patient wrote. "He treated me not only as a patient but as a friend."
For Matthew, the award was humbling, and it provided an opportunity for introspection. "After winning the award, I really stepped back from what I do as a nurse. I didn't go out of the way to treat this patient. I provide this level of care to everyone. It was amazing to be recognized for doing something that I, along with the other nurses on my unit, do every day."