When Vanessa Baral, BSN, RN, and Herwyn Silva, BSN, RN, CEN, first met over a decade ago, their shared nursing experience helped them to bond. Today, their love for nursing—now as Northwell employees—continues to complement their love for each other as they begin their married life together.
Though they work in separate Northwell hospitals and units, Vanessa in the ICU at LIJ Forest Hills and Herwyn in the Emergency Department at Lenox Hill Hospital, they appreciate how their shared profession helps them to understand each other on a different level. This unique insight became especially valued as they both cared for COVID-19 patients at their hospitals at the start of the pandemic last March.
“Both of us being RNs is very comforting, especially in these different times. In the ICU and ED, we work with some of the sickest patients and see things most people don’t see or go through,” says Herwyn. “Having that support person at home who knows what you go through at work is very comforting.” Vanessa agrees adding, “We can support each other whenever we have a rough day at work or at home knowing that we have been there and that we are doing it together.”
Hoda Kotb officiates Herwyn and Vanessa’s socially distant wedding live on the Today Show
And while they delivered care to our patients during this unprecedented time, Vanessa and Herwyn also made the difficult decision to put their wedding plans, originally scheduled for May 17, 2020, on hold to ensure the safety of their family and loved ones. Life, however, had other plans in store for them. In a celebration of their work as healthcare heroes on the front-lines, Vanessa and Herwyn were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have their wedding ceremony live on the Today Show on June 25th, 2020, ordained by Hoda Kotb herself.
After their wedding, they continued to deliver compassionate patient care and today they also serve in another role as nurses: working at our vaccination sites. Distributing vaccines allows them to deliver hope to patients in the form of a brighter tomorrow while working side-by-side.
“Distributing vaccines is an upbeat and happy moment we share with the community and a break from the difficult situations we sometimes deal with in the ICU and ED,” says Herwyn. “We vaccinated people who were looking forward to finally being able to see grandchildren, to essential workers and group home residents. These moments, full with nerves for some, are also filled with moments of hope and happiness.”
“The past year has been rough for everyone but being a duo has made it easier,” says Vanessa. “From working the frontlines as nurses, getting married live on tv during a pandemic, and now vaccinating our communities, we are happy to share our story with people to just spread joy in times when it feels more needed than ever.”
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