Nurses Month: Celebrating the impact of UCLA Nursing

  • May 04, 2022

In honor of Nurses Month, celebrated around the world every May, UCLA Nursing is spotlighting the impact of our past, present, and future nurses. Below, you’ll find short stories about some of our incredible nurse pioneers, educators, scholars, scientists, clinicians, and students.

Sr. Callista Roy, PhD, RN, FAAN
Alumna, UCLA School of Nursing

Callista Roy

Sr. Callista Roy, PhD, RN, FAAN, is widely regarded as one of the world’s most influential nurse theorists. Best known for her work developing the adaptation model of nursing, Sister Roy, who is now in her 80s, continues to be at the forefront of nursing theory and education, and is considered among nursing’s great living thinkers. Often called the Roy Adaptation Model, her theory established a framework for providing holistic, highly adaptable care to meet a patient’s individual needs. Sister Roy first considered this concept while studying at the UCLA School of Nursing under another nurse pioneer, Dorothy Johnson. Sister Roy would end receiving three diplomas from UCLA (M.S., M.A. & Ph.D.) and go on to educate generations of nurses through teaching at Mount St. Mary’s University, Boston College and others. While her theoretical work is renowned for its impact on the field, Sister Roy says her most important contribution is yet to come. It’s her students, she says, which includes UCLA Nursing Dean Lin Zhan, that are the legacy she is most proud of. Before becoming a nurse, Sister Roy joined the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet and says her faith has guided all she’s accomplished. During Nurses Month, we celebrate the transformative power of nurse pioneers like Sister Callista Roy.


Yeonsu Song, PhD, RN, FNP-C
Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing

Yeonsu Song

As a nurse scientist and researcher, Yeonsu Song always keeps the communities her work is trying to support in the forefront of her mind. For her, the patients and their problems drive her theories and work forward every day. With a focus on sleep, Song, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, is particularly interested in managing sleep problems among those with cognitive impairments and the subsequent sleep impacts on their care partners. She is currently in the final phase of data collection – part of a randomized controlled trial, testing a dyadic sleep intervention program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their care partners. Along with her role at UCLA Nursing, Song also has dual appointments at the David Geffen School of Medicine and the VA Greater Los Angeles Health Care System. During Nurses Month, we celebrate nurse scientists like Yeonsu Song.


Renee Lazaro, MSN, RN, CNOR
Clinical Nurse, Operating Room, UCLA Health

Renee Lazaro

Raised in the Philippines, Renee Lazaro knew she wanted to help people from a young age. Initially, she envisioned a path to medical school. But, after completing a nursing degree, she knew she had found her calling. So, Lazaro picked up her life and moved to the United States to pursue a career. It would end up taking her more than five years to make it to the bedside due to the complexities of having an international nursing license. But while the obstacles were many, she never lost hope. During that time, Lazaro found administrative opportunities that leveraged her passion for informatics and her want to make an impact on patients. She found a position at UCLA Health, working with like-minded nurses and nurse leaders to roll out the electronic medical record system across the institution. At the same time, she was working toward her master’s degree in nursing, which would end up opening the doors to the clinical nurse roles she had imagined. Today, Lazaro works in the operating room at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and continues to find ways to connect her love of informatics with her calling as a nurse. During Nurses Month, we celebrate nurses like Renee, who remind us that there is more than one path and more than one way to be a nurse.


Ceci Jardon
4th Year Student, B.S. in Nursing

Cecilia Jardon

As a high school student, Ceci Jardon had the chance to experience what it’s like to work in a hospital. At the time, she knew she wanted a career in health care and envisioned a future as a pre-med student. But during her visit to the hospital, she noticed the impact nurses had on their patients. More than simply providing nursing care, Jardon says she saw nurses connecting with patients and bringing humanity to the bedside. This realization shifted her perspective and put her on a path to becoming a nurse. Now, in her fourth year at UCLA Nursing, Jardon is preparing to test for her nursing license and begin clinical practice. She says her experience at UCLA has given her the tools needed to succeed in her career. She’s had the opportunity to be involved in a variety of student organizations, conduct undergraduate research, and has found mentors that have helped propel her forward. A first-generation college student, Jardon hopes to one day enter a nursing PhD program and help push the science of nursing and patient care forward. During Nurses Month, we celebrate students like Ceci Jardon who represent the future of nursing.


Cheryl Le Huquet, DNP, RN, NE-BC
Project Manager, Hospital Operations, UCLA Health

Cheryl Le Huquet

Growing up, Cheryl Le Huquet always knew she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and become a nurse. At the time, she envisioned a career at the bedside, wanting to work one-on-one with patients to improve their health and wellbeing. Little did she know that her professional vision would eventually take a big turn and lead her down a path to becoming the nurse leader she is today. After 17 years as a Cardio-Thoracic ICU nurse at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Le Huquet set out to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing degree from the UCLA School of Nursing. During that time, she says she was mentored by faculty members who helped her see a career beyond the bedside, where she could still have an impact on patients and her fellow nurses. After completing her MSN, Le Huquet transitioned out of clinical care and took a role in administration at UCLA Health. There, she had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects, improving infrastructure-levels systems that have transformed the hospital and benefited patients. Le Huquet would eventually re-enroll at the School of Nursing to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Today, she is a project manager for hospital operations across the entire UCLA Health system. And while she’s no longer practicing clinically, she says her years at the bedside continues to shape all that she does. During Nurses Month, we celebrate our nurse leaders.


Robert Lucero, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN
Professor, Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, and Inaugural Adrienne H. Moseley Endowed Chair in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Robert Lucero

Ask almost any nurse and they’ll tell you how much the discipline has evolved over the years. From its inception by Florence Nightingale, to the formalization of nursing education in colleges and universities, the field has never stopped growing and changing. For Robert Lucero, Professor and Associate Dean of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at UCLA Nursing, preparing for the future of nursing is at the forefront of his work. As a nurse scientist, focused on using artificial intelligence to identify risk factors of iatrogenic conditions, Lucero pushes science forward, working toward better outcomes for hospitalized older adults. As an educator, he educates tomorrow’s nurses how to apply and identify knowledge to problem solve in complex health care and nursing environments. And, as a leader at UCLA Nursing, he is helping to shape an inclusive environment that reflects the individuals, communities, and populations nurses care for, which is characterized by a sense of belonging and fairness in the school’s mission and values. He says it’s up to every nurse to elevate the discipline to meet future health care challenges, and knows that if anyone can do it, it’s nurses. During Nurses Month, we celebrate nurse scientists, educators, and leaders like Robert Lucero.


Kristi Westphaln, PhD, RN, PNP-PC
Assistant Professor, UCLA School of Nursing

Kristi Westphaln

Kristi Westphaln began her nursing career in the emergency department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. First as an RN, and eventually as a nurse practitioner, Westphaln spent years helping children and families through some of their most challenging moments. She says she has always felt immense satisfaction connecting directly with her patients. Over time, though, Westphaln began to see patterns among her patients and areas where the health care system was falling short. These experiences motivated her to want to make a larger impact. Today, as an assistant professor and researcher in the UCLA School of Nursing, Westphaln’s work, focusing on child abuse and neglect, is helping shape policy decisions and improving outcomes for patients around the world. Along with her teaching and research, Westphaln continues to practice clinically, and says her patients will always be the driving force behind her scientific exploration. During Nurses Month, we celebrate nurses like Kristi Westphaln.