Michael Liwanag
Michael Liwanag
Assistant Unit Director - Rush University Medical Center
Chicago, Illinois
Member of IONL since 2016

Why did you become a member of IONL?

IONL was attractive to me as it provided career-building opportunities to newer leaders. IONL provides education seminars/webinars and networking channels that will help strengthen my foundation as I progress through my leadership journey.

What about the nursing profession, interested you initially?

I always enjoy sharing a story about my childhood when I’m asked this question. When I was 5 years old, my mother took my brother, sister, and me to play mini-golf. I was playing behind a rather erratic child of a similar age who was taking full hacks at the golf ball (mind you, this is mini-golf). The course began to get backed up and crowded. Distracted by the windmill hole, I didn’t realize that the kid in front of me was about to “tee” off on his golf ball. His back swing lacerated the back of my skull.

I ran to my mother who had comforted me and applied pressure to my wound. She was confident and calm in her care, completed a set of neuro checks, and then woke me up every two hours that night to ensure that I was doing well.

Whether it was dealing with a difficult person or caring for her kid after getting hit with a putter, I have always admired my mother’s ability to be calm yet attentive in emergent situations. I’m convinced that these qualities are only obtained from the skills you learn in nursing, and are what ultimately attracted me to the nursing profession.

What is your favorite part of your job?

In my current role as an Assistant Unit Director, my favorite part of the job is definitely the leadership rounding. It is such a powerful tool that validates the great work our teams put forth every day, and it allows me to still have an opportunity to work with the patients. My organization, especially our service line Associate Vice President, Timothy Carrigan, has put forth a lot of effort investing in technology to makes rounding a smoother, more efficient process.

Tell us about yourself. What do you like to do outside of work?

Outside of work, I try to spend as much time being active – especially during the three months the weather is perfect in Chicago. My current hobbies include trail running, kickball leagues, and golfing. These activities allow me to clear my mind, and reflect on my experiences that I have encountered throughout the day. I also enjoy overbooking my calendar with family and friends. Having a family that is caring and supportive is one of my greatest blessings.

What benefits have you experienced since becoming a member of IONL?

I have enjoyed participating in many of the webinars from other nurse leaders throughout the state. There are so many successful projects and process improvement initiatives implemented throughout our organizations, and the webinars provide members a forum to share those with other leaders.

Why would you encourage others to participate in IONL?

IONL provides an excellent opportunity to learn and network with other nurse leaders from different organizations. Even though we are all from different organizations, what I have found is that we all share or have experienced similar challenges. What better way to be successful in our roles than talking with those who have shared similar experiences?

Illinois Organization of Nurse Leaders
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