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Sandra Lea, RN, CNOR

Sandra Lea recently opted for an exciting change in her nursing career. She and her husband joined InteliStaf, an agency that places nurses in 13-week assignments across the country. They decided to combine their interest in travel with nursing in hopes that they will get to see many different parts of the country.

Previously, Sandra was a clinical administrator at the Diagnostic Clinic Center for Outpatient Surgery in Largo, Fla. In this position, she was responsible for making center operations run smoothly. Her job included handling staffing issues, budget responsibilities and dealing with numerous administrative tasks.

Sandra is surrounded by a family of nurses. Not only is her husband a nurse, but her mother and sister are nurses as well.

"I have always thought of nursing as not just a 'job' but a profession," Sandra said. "I have tried to instill this belief in other nurses and have encouraged others to go into nursing for this reason. Nursing has given me the opportunity to help other people and also feel good about myself and my purpose in this life."

Lea received her nursing degree from Allegheny General Hospital School of Nursing in Pittsburgh. Later she specialized in perioperative nursing, which provides patients with care before, during and after surgery. One of the primary roles of a perioperative nurse is to be the patient's advocate.

Lea uses her nursing knowledge to improve the lives of others. In addition, she is a member of Interplast, a non-profit organization that provides free reconstructive surgery by sending teams of medical volunteers to developing countries.

Her participation with Interplast has taken her to Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador Nepal and Vietnam. Her visit to Vietnam was even featured in a short-form documentary that received an Academy Award in 1997. Entitled "A Story of Healing," the documentary featured Lea's medical team as it visited Vietnam's Mekong Delta, where the team performed surgery on 110 children to treat their facial deformities.

Lea is one of the nurses featured in an advertising campaign for Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow. She is a member of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses.