Senior Nursing Instructor Maria “Toni” Arellano loves her job as the curriculum coordinator for the Los Angeles County Fire Department Emergency Medical Services Bureau.
“My role is always changing, and it adapts to the things I want to pursue,” she said. “I have the flexibility to go above and beyond what my role dictates.”
Over her past seven years with the Department and in addition to her normal job duties, those pursuits have included acting as part of the Deployment Support Team for USA Task Force 2’s deployments to Haiti and New Zealand, creating a video montage for the memorial service for Fire Captain Ted Hall and Fire Fighter Specialist Arnaldo “Arnie” Quinones at Dodger Stadium, and playing the tenor drum for the Los Angeles County Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band.
It’s her work as the curriculum coordinator, however, that earned her the Fire Department Nurse of the Year award from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, May 12, in honor of Nurse Recognition Week.
Arellano shines when it comes to collaborating with experts to produce educational content, much of which can be found through the Department’s online Blackboard education platform.
Last year, Arellano developed a program about human trafficking; the Department received feedback from hundreds of personnel about how it gave them a new level of understanding of the victims.
“We had a chance with the Department to liaison with other agencies that had more of a background (in human trafficking),” she said, noting that she was able to get additional information for the subject as well as interview a human trafficking victim. “(The interview) was really tailored to our folks in the field about her experience, and what they can do to help.”
Her materials on child abuse also stand out.
“I reached out to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Department … and we got some really good case material,” she said. Her program was so well-researched that it prompted the Department of Health Services Emergency Medical Services Agency to update its own policy.
In addition, she helped the Department develop its Ebola response plan.
Prior to joining the Fire Department, Arellano was an emergency room nurse at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center. When she saw the opening for a senior nursing instructor with the Fire Department, “I thought that it would be perfect,” she said.
Featured photo: Senior Nursing Instructor Maria “Toni” Arellano poses with Fire Chief Daryl L. Osby and others after receiving her Nurse of the Year award. Photo by Phil Wilford.