Griselda Olivas, a registered nurse with over 30 years of experience in the medical field, is often described as a true advocate for women in the fight against breast cancer.As a kid Olivas was the friend that will always take care others, “if my friends were injured I will go and get a band –aid,” says Olivas.
“My mom used to tease me and say, you are going to be a nurse when you grow up.”
Today Olivas applies more than just band-aids; she is a registered nurse at Saint Joseph’s Medical Center and Cancer Navigator for the mobile mammography program.
Olivas first job was at San Joaquin General Hospital. But ultimately she wanted to work specifically in women`s health.
And so one day, 16 years ago, looking at the newspaper, a job ad caught her attention.
“They [San Joseph`s Hospital] were looking for a bilingual nurse who would do community outreach for women`s health.”
“I will like to do something like that, to go out to the community and help my Latina women,” thought Olivas that day.
And so she started working for the cancer detention program at medical center and has worked tirelessly to improve the care of breast cancer patients around the community.
“When I started we had one little cart and that was our clientele… we now grown into a file room with over 4, 000 charts and 60 percent and more are Latina women.”
During her first years with the program, Olivas realized that many of her patients only spoke Spanish, and that many women did not attended their appointments.
Olivas created the navigation services programand the “Comadre” (Comrade) workshop which caters to the needsof women, especially Latinas facing breast cancer.
As a Cancer Navigator Olivas, many times picks up her patients and takes them to their appointments. “I knew for a fact that they will keep up with their appointments and I will be there to advocate to translate and to support them at the same time.”
At the time Latinas had limited informational resources due to the language barrier, the “Comadre” workshop dedicated to provide resources and information about breast cancer in the Latina community.
“I come from a strong Latina family and there is a lot of “comadres”, when we sit down we talk about everything from A-Z …this was a time of sharing , talk about our health and about what we are doing to take care of ourselves.”
13 years have passed and the mission of the Comadre Workshop continues, the next one to be held at St. Linus Church on Tuesday, October 30th from 5:30 -8:00 P.M.
“I just want to make sure that my ladies get the best care and are treated with dignity and respect … that is my mission.”
To attend the Comadre Workshop you must registered by calling (209) 461-5367.