As part of Local 10′s Salute to Nurses campaign, we asked Local 10 viewers to nominate South Florida nurses who’ve made an impact in their lives.
All of the nurses submitted were worthy of recognition. Three were chosen for their longevity in service and ability to overcome intense challenges.
Elaine Salow, Critical Care Nurse:
Elaine Salow, of Cooper City, has been a nurse for more than 40 years.
As a critical care nurse, when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its height, she told the younger nurses under her watch that she would treat the COVID patients to protect them from contracting the virus.
Salow’s younger sister, Karen Pintado, tells Local 10 her sister has always been a thoughtful caregiver and second mom to her six younger siblings.
Salow has inspired seven members of her family to follow in her footsteps and become nurses.
“We have my grandson who is now a nurse,” said Salow. “My brother is a nurse, my sisters are all nurses. My niece is a nurse. It feels really good.”
William Diaz, Charge Nurse:
William Diaz spent seven years as an emergency room paramedic before he decided to pursue nursing and help cancer patients.
The husband and father to a 3-year-old daughter is admired for his exceptional work ethic and compassion.
“We run into his patients sometimes in the streets and the store and they thank him,” said Diaz’s wife, Evelyn Diaz. “They tell me how wonderful he is.”
As a charge nurse at UM Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Diaz often sees patients at their weakest, both physically and emotionally. But he has one governing principle that has made a difference.
“You can’t change the outcome, but you can certainly change that day,” said Diaz. “A little smile, a touch on the shoulder, a human interaction. Anything like that.”
Stephanie Rico Masterson, Pediatric Surgical Nurse:
Stephanie Rico Masterson knew since she was a child that she wanted to be a nurse.
She realized her dream and became a pediatric surgical nurse who has helped children at home and abroad.
She never imagined that at age 28 she would face a health crisis of her own.
“I was diagnosed with Stage 4 invasive ductal carcinoma, which is breast cancer,” said Rico Masterson.
In spite of the diagnosis, undergoing a double mastectomy and intense therapy, Rico Masterson continued to work.
She found a way to care for her patients online and from home.
On Tuesday, she returned to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to work two days a week.
Her grandmother praises her for her courage and steadfast devotion to others.
“I feel there are a lot of unsung heroes out there, especially in the last two years, and there are many abuelas of these heroes, who I am sure are very, very proud,” said Rosa Maria Herrera.
The Local 10 Salute to Nurses campaign ran from May 6 to May 27. All entries submitted before deadline were reviewed and a panel chose the three honorees for 2022. Their stories will also be shared on Local 10 News this Friday at 5:30 p.m.