Noralyn Juan is not just a nurse to residents at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, she’s a friend

  • HOLLYN JOHNSON/Tribune-Herald Noralyn Juan stands at the nursing station Wednesday at Yukio Okutsu Veterans State Home in Hilo.

As a nurse, Noralyn Juan is strict, but kind. Prompt and knowledgeable.

So says Sue Uejo, a resident Juan cares for at Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, where the nurse has worked since 2008.


Uejo said Juan is also “very effective,” calm and caring.

“She’s a good nurse, a very good nurse,” Uejo said. “I can depend on her not only (as a) nurse, but as a friend. That’s very important for the patients.”

Juan is just one nurse of many working in East Hawaii health care facilities.

National Nurses Week was observed May 6-12 this year. May 12 marked the anniversary of the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing.

Juan began her career in 1995 as a nurse in the Philippines. Now a registered nurse, she began working as certified nursing assistant after moving to America in 2002 because her nursing license did not carry over.

“When I was young, I wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to help other people,” she said.

Juan, who is originally from Laoag City in the Ilocos Norte province of the Philippines, said she loves her job at the veteran’s home.

“I love taking care of our elderly, especially our veterans who fought for our country,” she said. “… I love provid(ing) the best quality of care for our residents with respect and dignity.”

And she’s happy to see them regain independence.

Nursing is a “really tough job,” Juan said, but it’s “doing something profound, valuable that makes me come back to work.”

It is her passion, she said.

“Noralyn shows care and compassion for her responsibilities everyday,” said David Pettijohn, Yukio Okutsu administrator. “She shows a love for this facility that is very much appreciated by our veterans. We are grateful for Noralyn and all of the hard-working nurses at our facility.”

Juan said her patients often don’t want her to leave and look forward to her return when she’s off.


Once they ask for something, “I have to go right away and I have to respond right away with that, with whatever their needs are,” she said. “Nursing is a really tough job because no matter how busy you are, if they asked for it, … I have to prioritize what their needs are first.”

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