Alice Benjamin, R.N., a West Coast University-Los Angeles faculty member, brought more awareness to the nursing profession on a recent episode of “The Dr. Oz Show.”
Affectionately called “Nurse Alice,” Benjamin is new to the West Coast faculty but no stranger to teaching. She is a cardiac clinical nurse specialist at Cedars-Sinai where, in addition to treating cardiology patients, she is involved with onboarding education and training programs for new grads.
“Nurses know what patients need because we spend so much time with them, walking them through their situation, caring for their needs,” Nurse Alice said in a phone interview. “Often in the media, you only see physicians speaking about their expertise, and I believe it’s important that nurses speak up about our role in patient care.”
Dr. Oz invited Benjamin to speak on his special “Nurses Unite” in September, which focused on different aspects of nursing care, nurses’ roles at hospitals and in different specialties. Benjamin was asked to share helpful tips from her book “The 28 Ways in 28 Days Health Plan” where she discusses how to be fit and strong by living like a nurse.
“Nurses have to be physically and emotionally well, and prepared for anything,” she shared. “ I want to use my profession as a nurse to inspire people to be healthy, from sleeping well to eating and exercising well.”
Nurse Alice shares that it’s her personal experience with her own past health struggles, as well as living with her father being in and out of the hospital growing up, that inspires her to help others and focus on preventative care.
“As the eldest sibling in my family, I spent a lot of time helping my dad, who had some really great, comforting nurses who took really good care of him,” Benjamin shared. “My dad is the one who said I should be a nurse and I later realized that I really wanted to help people be healthy.”
Benjamin also shared that earlier in her life she struggled being overweight and was diagnosed as borderline diabetic with hypertension.
“I realized I needed to be healthier for my own children," she said. "I worked really hard to be where I am now and I know how hard the struggle can be. But prevention is key.”
As a West Coast University faculty member, Benjamin says she really enjoys helping students apply theory into clinical practice.
“It’s amazing to see students’ growth throughout their rotation,” she added. “Sometimes people think of nurses as just caring for patients at the hospital, but I want my students and the public to know that we are everywhere. We have such a great impact on healthcare so it’s important we educate in every way possible.”
Dr. Oz mentioned during the show that they will be looking for a nurse to become a member of his expert team through a nationwide search. If you're interested in nominating a nurse you know, visit their website for more information.