Nurse celebrated for dedication and compassion—on and off the clock

Diana Dean, nursing supervisor, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, was recognized by University leadership for her never-ending sensitivity and devotion for patients and members of the community.
Nurse celebrated for dedication and compassion—on and off the clock
Diana Dean, nursing supervisor, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center
Diana Dean, nursing supervisor

Over the past few years, amid a global pandemic, Diana Dean, nursing supervisor, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, has taken countless COVID-19 tests. One day, after leaving the testing center, she came upon a stranger in distress. Without hesitation, Dean leapt into action—using her experience as a nurse and caregiver to provide support and guidance. Recognized for her response to a stranger, her compassion for patients, and dedication to the Miami community, she was nominated as one of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center’s outstanding employees.

“I nominated Diana because she is the type of person who truly has a patient-first mindset,” said Oneida McEachin, senior practice manager, Sylvester at Aventura. “She acted quickly and ethically, showed compassion and empathy in a difficult situation, and thought only of the safety of the patient in their time of need. It wasn’t surprising she helped someone in need.”

Dean shared about the incident where she had to offer help, and she addresses her experience at Sylvester, her thoughts on nursing, and advice on joining the profession.


Your nomination letter included details about a time when you were off duty but assisted a community member in need. Can you tell us about this event?

I was at the Medical Campus to get a COVID-19 test. As I was leaving the testing center, I noticed a young man who seemed to be in distress. As a nurse, I jumped into de-escalate the situation. I approached him in a calm manner and called Public Safety to help prevent any harm to himself or others. I continued to speak to him calmly, until help arrived. 

Can you tell us about your career at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center? 

I began my career with the University of Miami in October 2019. I was appointed as the charge nurse when Sylvester opened a location in Aventura. I have now been promoted to the nurse supervisor role and plan to continue to grow in my nursing profession. Working within the University health system has been a great experience. From staff members to patients, I have learned what it means to make an impact in someone’s life.

What inspired you to become a nurse? 

I was inspired by the passion that I have to care for others. I believe my mother instilled this passion within me, because she would always tell me stories about how she was afraid to care for me as a baby since I was born premature. She told me how the nurses were so caring and understanding while reassuring her and educating her every step of the way. It was this story that inspired me to pay it forward.

What is the best part about your job? 

Helping others has become my life purpose. The best part of my job involves caring for patients at their bedside, fighting for patient rights and nursing education improvements, and saving lives.

Can you share some of your greatest achievements or most proud moments during your career? 

One of my greatest achievements is being nominated and winning the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses in 2017. I was recognized for my role as a certified interpreter for a Haitian Creole speaking family of a NICU patient.

What advice would you share with someone who is considering a career in nursing?

Nursing is an extremely rewarding career with many opportunities and advantages for educational and professional growth. The most rewarding part of nursing, to me—and the reason a person should consider nursing—is the gratitude you receive from patients for your help and support during some of the most difficult times in their lives.

Learn more about the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Employee Nomination Program.

In the beginning of fiscal year 2022, Sylvester launched a pilot employee recognition initiative inspired by its board of overseers. The chair, Adam Carlin, wanted a way for the board to recognize outstanding employees. The goal is to spotlight staff members who have gone above and beyond and exemplified Sylvester’s mission and the University’s DIRECCT Values. Nominations can be made quarterly and employees who are acknowledged through the initiative will receive a personalized video from board leadership thanking them for their hard work and dedication to Sylvester. Nominees will also get recognition from their leaders.

As part of National Nurses Month, ’Canes are invited to show their appreciation for colleagues at the University of Miami Health System. From doctors and nurses to environmental service workers and lab technicians, everyone plays a part in our success. Through the ThankU initiative, University members can express immediate appreciation to colleagues by sending a note of gratitude using the Thank a ’Cane tool.