Nurse successfully juggles career, home life: Olive Sanchez

(Valley Morning Star) Olive Sanchez has had to work extra hard in both her career and at home, but now has a successful life to show for her effort.

A nurse since 1979, Sanchez originally earned her registered nurse degree in the Philippines, where she worked as a labor and delivery nurse.

She later added a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas-Brownsville.

But before eventually becoming clinical research nurse coordinator at Valley Baptist Medical Center-Harlingen, she worked in mental health/psychiatry at the Bronx Psychiatric Center and at Beth Israel Medical Center, both in New York City, she said.

At the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston she worked in the crisis unit in the adolescent care center.

“I have to make sure all research is legal and ethical,” Sanchez said of her job at Valley Baptist. “There are a lot of government standards.”

Much of the research she works with involves stroke victims.

Sanchez works closely with Dr. Ameer Hassan, who is doing research on stroke with hypertension and stroke with diabetes, which affects many Valley residents, she said.

A research center on strokes will eventually be set up at the Regional Academic Health Center, she said.

A widow since 1998, she has been very involved in her sons’ activities, Sanchez said.

“I’ve been a Scout leader since 2001,” she said.

Her son Douglas is now a student at the University of Texas-Brownsville, where he is involved in the Bluecoats Drum & Bugle Corps and the Genesis Drum & Bugle Corps. Son Oliver is also an Eagle Scout, she said.

In addition to earning the highest Boy Scout rank, both her sons are black belts in Tae Kwon Do, Sanchez said.

“He wants to study to be a psychologist,” she said of her younger son.

During the small amount of spare time she has, Olive enjoys listening to music, especially Christmas music, on the radio, she said. “I love scrapbooking; I’m a lifetime member of Sigma Theta Tau nursing sorority and the Phil-Am Organization.”

The Phil-Am Organization, made up of Rio Grande Valley people who are natives of the Philippines, has many social activities and also holds outdoor activities such as fishing on South Padre Island, she said.

“I’m also a lifetime member of the Scorpions at UTB,” she said of the booster club.

She enjoys traveling. “In October, I went back to the Philippines to see Mom,” she said.

Her mother lived in San Diego several years but has moved back to the Philippines, Sanchez said.