Leading for a brighter tomorrow    Liliana Alvarado, RN is the head of INCOR’s pediatric cardiac intensive care nursing department. Our partner site, INCOR, is Peru’s most established children’s heart program.

Liliana Flor Alvarado Parraga, RN, serves as the head of the pediatric cardiac intensive care nursing department at the Instituto Nacional Cardiovascular (INCOR) in Lima, Peru. Heart to Heart had the good fortune to begin working with her as we began our collaboration in early 2016. We sat down with her during our latest surgical-educational training mission to Lima to learn more about her experience as a nurse, her work in Peru, and her dreams for future generations.

Liliana was born and raised in Peru and discovered her interest in nursing in high school. In her youth, she identified a passion for caring for people of all ages, babies as well as the elderly. Liliana shared with us that she feels driven by her “amor al prójimo” or love of one’s neighbor. A voracious reader, she is grateful that nursing fosters continuous reading and learning. After studying for many years – general nursing, pediatric cardiac nursing, and then providing one year of service – Liliana became a full-fledged pediatric cardiac nurse. Her experience includes working abroad in Japan before pursuing additional education in nursing management. Eventually found her way back to her passion – direct patient care for the people of Peru.

“I want to learn more. I want to do what we can here because there is a problem of public health in my country. It’s a problem that we all live with each day.” Liliana Flor Alvarado Parraga, RN

Liliana’s greatest joy from nursing is seeing her patients laugh and smile. She believes, “every child has a distinct story.” It is her job to decipher that story – examining a child’s medical history, taking vital signs, determining which medicine would be best to administer – and offer superb individualized care from the child’s ICU admittance to discharge. “In my work, I am only thinking of the patient.” Liliana’s passion was apparent to all of her Heart to Heart colleagues from day one – from her leadership on the floor, to her devotion to each child lying in an ICU bed.

At INCOR, Liliana is in charge of dozens of nurses in the bustling pediatric cardiac intensive care department. She was drawn to this leadership role because she is a strong believer in the power of teamwork. Liliana is grateful that her team at INCOR generally has sufficient resources, but she is keenly aware that nationwide, the Peruvian healthcare system is struggling to care for children affected by CHD. “We need more resources and we want to share these advances with the new generation of nurses.”

Teamwork in the ICU   Four members of INCOR’s pediatric cardiac intensive care nursing team stand in the intensive care unit where they care for dozens of patients affected by congenital heart disease each day.

Her passion to help lift up a brighter, more advanced generation of nurses and a healthier, happier generation of children with CHD, keeps her motivated her each day. She tirelessly questions how to better nursing systems within their limitations of budget and time – a pragmatism and resourcefulness that has helped her ascend to her role in leadership. “It’s important for us to do this for our country,” she adds.

Liliana and her team are excited to reunite again with Heart to Heart colleagues. Together we are collaborating to bring world-class care to children with heart defects – including a special project to reduce hospital-acquired infections. She believes that the Heart to Heart-INCOR collaboration will be beneficial to the hospital “because no group is able to advance in isolation.” Our teams are excited to continue working together to develop nationwide access to heart care for all children in Peru!

Our deepest thanks on International Nurses Day and every day to Liliana, her fellow INCOR nurses, nurses in the Heart to Heart family, and nurses worldwide, for putting patients first and positively impacting countless lives!