The trio of Victoria Huisman, Debbie Givot, and Robin Raymond lead the emergency departments for Desert Care Network.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ETHNA KAMINSKY PRODUCTIONS
Victoria Huisman, Debbie Givot, and Robin Raymond lead the emergency departments at Desert Care Network, which provides healthcare to the Coachella Valley and Morongo Basin with three acute care hospitals — Desert Regional Medical Center, JFK Memorial Hospital, and Hi-Desert Medical Center — plus ambulatory surgery centers, and primary and specialty clinics.
The network also includes The Comprehensive Cancer Center, the region’s highest-level intensive care unit for newborns, and two trauma centers — one at Desert Regional and a newly designated center at JFK Memorial Hospital. Desert Regional features a comprehensive interventional stroke center, with additional stroke treatment facilities at JFK and in the High Desert.
Serving as director of emergency and trauma services at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs is always challenging, Huisman says. “It’s a 24/7 operation. We have about 150 staff members in the emergency department, and you need to be ready for any situation at any time.”
Huisman grew up in Indiana and became a traveling nurse before accepting a position at Desert Regional 22 years ago and falling in love with the Coachella Valley. Emergency care here is unique because it’s a tourist destination, Huisman says. “Due to visitors recreational activities, we see various kinds of accidents and more strokes and heart attacks with year round residents.”
Practicing in the desert has lots of upsides, she notes: “It’s a great place to live. It’s got amazing culture, and it’s got a small-town feel with big-city benefits.”
Debbie Givot is director of emergency services at JFK Memorial in Indio. The Baltimore, Maryland, native worked as an EMT paramedic for 14 years before relocating to California and attending nursing school. The desert was a natural fit for Givot and her husband, who love to spend time outdoors.
“What I enjoy about living in our desert region is the better quality of life that we have for our family,” Givot says. “I live four miles from JFK. I’m a part of that community. So everyone who comes in, I treat them as if they’re my family or my neighbor.”
She explains that the three DCN hospitals collaborate in patient care. “If one of our hospitals cannot manage a patient due to the complexity of the case, we have another hospital within our network that can.”
Robin Raymond heads the emergency room at High Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree. After becoming a certified medical assistant in her early 20s, she worked at the Comprehensive Cancer Center and decided to pursue nursing. She chose the High Desert because she had family there and wanted to be in a smaller town as her children grew up.
While she originally thought oncology was her future, she found her passion during her first shift in the emergency room. “It just clicked. I loved the pace, the stress, and the organized chaos. I knew that’s where I wanted to be.”
Raymond notes the High Desert has a diverse population and tourists who visit Joshua Tree National Park, so her hospital sees a lot of hiker injuries and traffic collisions. High Desert is also a certified stroke-ready hospital.
Nursing is “is one of the most rewarding careers,” she says, “whether it’s the emergency department or any scope, it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work every day. It’s teamwork.”
Outside of work, Raymond appreciates the High Desert lifestyle. “I love the small community, clear skies, and our weather.”
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