Longtime UCLA Medical Center Pediatric Nurse, Terri Bercier has gone above and beyond when it comes to providing the public with medical services.

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica has recently attained Magnet recognition as part of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program. Magnet recognition has become the gold standard for nursing excellence and they have are constantly showing patients and families how knowledgeable and attentive their nurses are. It is not an easy job unless you have the passion and heart to do so, and Terri Bercier has exactly that.

Bercier is 62 years of age, and has been a Certified Pediatric Registered Nurse for 40 years. She started her career in Santa Monica at the age of 22 and worked at Santa Monica Community Hospital from 1975 to 1995 and continued to stay within the facility when UCLA acquired Santa Monica Community Hospital in 1995 she has yet to leave. She retires from the medical field next month on October 6, 2016.

Terri said, “As a pediatric nurse I work with children and adolescents who have to go through immunizations, screenings and even cancer. I see children coming in day to day, diagnosed with Leukemia, osteoporosis, or some other form of cancer. It can be difficult, almost unbearable for some of these children. My job is to make them feel as relaxed and safe as possible.”

This specific job can be very trying and emotionally draining, as many medical workers find it troublesome to cope with the illness or loss of a young patient.

  1. David Bailey, interim chief nursing officer for the UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica said, “UCLA nurses in Santa Monica have a passion for being the best in the world, and they share that passion with the entire UCLA Health organization.”

The reason Bercier went into pediatrics in the first place was the experience she had with a young two-year-old girl on her first day of nursing school, she saw the fear and terror in this child’s eyes and comforted her. Stayed by her bed when she could and helped with any procedures that took place that day. This was the moment that Bercier knew she was in the right place and she was meant for this career.

When it comes to the patients, they love Bercier for her insane dance moves, her smile and how comforting she makes all the patients feel. She doesn’t mind doing whatever it is that will put a smile on their face.

Bercier exhibits passion and love for people and felt she could do more. On her own time she decided to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a healthcare professional specializing in the clinical management of breastfeeding and lactation.

She said, “I felt as a mother I have a duty to educate women everywhere on how to breastfeed, and the best way to feed their child whether it be through formula or natural.”

Bercier has been in the medical field for many years, a lifetime for some and agrees that atmosphere in the hospital has changed over the 40 years she has been there. Starting her career doctors would not take much advice from nurses, or ask for an opinion but today everyone in the hospital works together. Every worker has the same goal, to help patients get healthy and out on the streets and back home to live a ‘normal’ lifestyle. Doctors and nurses are constantly exchanging information, and some doctors want more participation and involvement from the nurses, making them feel empowered.

Being a nurse can be very rewarding and fulfilling, but Bercier goes above and beyond by volunteering her time to go on medical missions. Traveling with a group of medical personal to a foreign country for the purpose of providing people with medical care to communities with little access to healthcare and or medicine.

Bercier wants to not only help people in Santa Monica but also people all over the world. She volunteers with an organization called Project Helping Hands, and has been to Africa, Vietnam, Philippines, and Haiti three times. She has completed six medical missions and has a goal of completing at least ten missions in her lifetime.

Her career at UCLA comes to an end next month and expresses the mixed emotions of sadness and fulfillment. She leaves behind wonderful nurses with the advice of being an advocate for these patients.

Tears came to her face as she said, “I have worked with many fabulous, smart, and gracious pediatricians and doctors here at UCLA for so long that it will be hard to say good-bye. This place not only gave me a second home but a second family.”

She will miss the people, the families and most importantly the children who showed strength, fear, and hope.

When retirement kicks in, she does not plan on calling herself a retired nurse, after 40 years of taking care of individuals she feels as if being a nurse is part of her identity. She plans on taking time to herself and traveling, and spending more time with her family. UCLA is thankful for her long-term commitment and dedication to the Santa Monica Medical Center as well as the patients.

Marina Andalon