Biographies of PMRNA Officers

July 2011

Mary Mendoza, MSN, Ed, RN, CCRN

In April 2005, Mary Mendoza started her employment at Jerry L. Pettis VA Medical Center as a critical care nurse. Her nursing experience is extensive and diverse. Mary worked in four other acute care hospitals besides the VA Medical Center. She provided nursing care to diverse clients from across the life cycle. Besides Intensive Care, Mary worked as a staff nurse in other nursing specialties: Postpartum, Nursery, Intermediate NICU, L & D PACU, Pediatrics, Telemetry, and ER. Besides functioning in the role of a bedside nurse, other nursing roles include charge nurse, resource nurse, preceptor, and mentor.

Mary earned her Associate Degree in Nursing at Pasadena City College in 1998. She pursued undergraduate study in 1999 obtaining her BSN degree from University of Phoenix in 2002 and her Public Health Nursing degree in 2003. She pursued graduate study earning her MSN degree with emphasis in Nursing Education from University of Phoenix in September 2010. In addition, she obtained certification as a CCRN in 2008. Mary aspires to pursue a PhD. in nursing in the near future. Mary’s nursing practice is founded on the philosophy that knowledge has the power to transform. To promote excellence in nursing practice through education is one of Mary’s professional goals.

Mary is passionate about promoting patient safety, quality care, and just and fair treatment of all nurses. She is an advocate for fair labor practice in the work environment. Mary believes that at the core of protecting your rights is knowing those rights. According to Mary, when every nurse takes ownership of his or her profession and place of employment, each nurse can become an agent of change. As the President of PMRNA, Mary welcomes the challenges of her new role.

Arlene Cortes, BSN, RN

One of Arlene’s favorite quotes is, “To laugh often and much, to win respect of intelligent people and affection of children, to leave the world a better place, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is what it is to have succeeded.” If there was a mission statement that each individual chose to live by, this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson would be Arlene’s.

Arlene obtained her BSN degree from Cal State San Bernardino. She has been an ICU nurse on the night shift for four years. She has been assigned different roles – preceptor to new orientees, ICIP super user for trouble shooting problems with the electronic charting in the ICU, and most recently, she has taken on the role as resource nurse in the unit.

Arlene can be shy when you first meet her but you soon find she has an easy going personality and a wicked sense of humor. Arlene is meticulous in everything she applies herself to and her love of life directly influences her passion on the job. She has been a member of UNAC since she became a nurse but she has known about this organization since she was a child when both parents were and still are active members. Arlene continually looks for new avenues to apply herself in both life and at work and is excited for what new adventures lay in store for her as the Vice-President of PMRNA.

Brenda Jordan, BSN, RN

Brenda Jordan started her nursing career as a certified nurse’s aide for 10 years before she went back to school to obtain an LVN degree in 1985. She continued her pursuit in nursing, completing her RN degree in 1988. While working full time, being a single parent to 3 girls, and obtaining treatment for breast cancer, Brenda worked on her BS degree in nursing, graduating in 2002 from University of Phoenix. She did not miss a single day of school while trying to manage competing priorities.

Brenda has worked within the Department of Veterans Affairs since 1988. Positions she has held are the following: medical psychiatric unit charge nurse; nurse manager; patient focus care; mental health intensive case management (MHICM) case manager. Brenda was a MHICM case manager for 9 years at the West Los Angeles VA and then chose to apply and work as a MHICM case manager at the Loma Linda VA where she continues to work helping with the severely mentally ill.

Brenda is the daughter of a career (29 yrs) military air force veteran. She has the compassion to work with the veterans to help them with their goals to function in the community and to provide for themselves and their families.

In her leisure, Brenda enjoys going on cruises, traveling cross country, shopping, and cheering on her grade school grandson as he starts his interest in sports.

Brenda has been a member of UNAC for 23 years and for the first time, she has become actively involved serving as treasurer of the Pettis Memorial Registered Nurses Association.

Rita Ihenacho, BA, RN
Associate Representative Coordinator

Rita Ihenacho has been employed at VA Loma Linda since 2000. She is a chemotherapy-certified nurse who works days for 4SW oncology unit. In March 2007, Rita received recognition for belonging to the VA’s “Team of the Month”. She recently earned her 10–year anniversary employment pin. Prior VA experience includes working in Ambulatory Care for

4 years. Prior to her employment at the VA, Rita worked for Kaiser Permanente for 5 years as a float nurse, mainly in the Telemetry Unit. In addition, she has experience working in Pediatrics and Neurology. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration.

Rita is a dedicated and an active member of United Nurses Association of California. She is passionate about helping her fellow RNs. As the Associate Representative Coordinator, Rita will carry on the duties of the President and/or Secretary in their absence and she will perform all other duties as deemed necessary by the Executive Committee.