What started as a part-time job in her teens turned into a lifelong mission of caring for patients in the community she grew up in. In this episode of Making the Rounds, Chip spoke with Dr. Ana Pineda about her inspiring journey from helping in a doctor’s office to becoming the Associate Medical Director of Emergency Rooms at HCA Florida Kendall Hospital and Free-standing Emergency Rooms in Doral and South Kendall.
“I took a small part-time job after high school, and I worked at an ENT office, basically in the community that I work in right now. There I saw the interaction that these doctors had with their patients. I saw from treating their diseases that they built these very meaningful relationships where people would keep coming back – and they were coming back not only to get their ears checked out or their throat checked out, but sometimes just to talk to the doctor. I really appreciated that relationship that they built, the bonding that they had with the community.”
Her love of medicine and her desire to help those in her community only grew from there. Her next job was in an emergency department (the same ED she leads today) – and that is where she found her calling.
“Emergency medicine is one of the only these fields where you’re basically touching every aspect of the human body. You’re seeing adults, you’re seeing pediatrics, you’re seeing pregnant women and it’s this organized chaos. What I love about my job, aside from the variability, which I never thought I was going love this aspect, by the way, is the behind the scenes. Everything that it takes to run emergency department, everything that it takes to get the patient in through one door and out the other…It’s inspiring.”
Dr. Pineda was also inspired by how everyone at her facility and HCA Healthcare answered the call as COVID-19 spread.
“COVID changed everything for us, especially in emergency medicine. We were the front line, we were having to deal with something that nobody knew what it was. Nobody knew what was going happen – so we were starting from scratch. We were building these protocols from nothing – that was very humbling. And the most inspiring part of COVID, even though there’s been a lot of challenges, is the team aspect, how everybody came together – and I’m not speaking just about the physicians. The nurses came together, the respiratory therapists, the environmental teams were all huge contributors. Everyone came together. We stayed motivated as a team. We looked out for each other. I think our hospital was one of the hardest hit sites in Florida. But we were super supported by HCA Florida Kendall Hospital. We had the resources that we needed and that motivated us to keep going to work. It takes a village, but we got through it and we’re still getting through it.”
But despite the challenges of the past two years, Dr. Pineda remains dedicated to medicine and to training the next generation of doctors. She appreciates the commitment and investment HCA Healthcare has made toward educating all caregivers in the hospital. And she has a message for those considering a career in health care.
“Health care is very fulfilling. It has its challenges is, but it’s inspiring and it’s humbling. I know that COVID has changed a lot of people’s perspective – it almost feels like it’s dangerous. A lot of people during COVID felt that they were putting their lives at risk – and at some way, shape, or form they were. But I feel like what you gain out of it is so much more. You connect with people, and you become part of the solution. I want to tell people out there – don’t be afraid to pursue a career in medicine because I think that you’re going to feel fulfilled and accomplished at the end of your life.
You can listen to Dr. Pineda’s conversation with Chip by clicking here.