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I was born in a small rural Cuban town to a fisherman who taught me the most variable lesson of a true sense of humility and altruistic caring for others. It was because of these two unique attributes of my father which came to define him that inspired him to denounce human rights violations in revolutionary Cuba, for which he ultimately paid a very high price, imprisoned for years by the Communist regime, a prisoner of conscience suffering under brutally inhuman conditions, ultimately forced to flee his country in search of freedom.
It was as such, that I arrived to the United States at the age of four with tears rolling down my cheeks for the loved ones left behind, along with my father’s promise of a more certain and fair future. And this idea has branded me like indelible ink. The many opportunities that I have been given for living in this country I could not have dreamed of in my native Cuba. Especially during college years when after multiple mature conversations with my father, I came to the realization that I wanted to serve those that need it most: the sick the weak and those drawing there last breath. Thus, I decided to become a nurse.
The University of XXXX Accelerated BSN Program was, without a question, a daunting feat in itself. This proved to be more so, in my case, as my brother, who had just turned 21, was diagnosed with a metastatic gynecologic malignancy in New York. This year, of endless nights at airports, with open books and classroom notes, along with the sadness of a close relative who is not recovering, reassured me that I was in the right profession, and that indeed I had the spirit to bring a comforting word and warm hands to those who needed them. In the end, I succeeded academically while dealing with the inevitable impending tragedy” as the doctors called it. I was proud and so was my brother.
My father insisted that I continued on to my Family Nurse Practitioner degree, as it had always been the plan. Our economical situation was dire, however, his fishing enterprise was anything but thriving, and my mother was working over 60 hours a week; there was no other way for me but to help while postponing my hefty career goals. XXXX Memorial Hospital seemed to be the right niche for a hungry young nurse eager to put in the energy, hard work, and desire of seeing patients get better. I have in these three years taken more with me than I have given; I have humbly learned more than I have taught.
Perhaps my deep sense of appreciation started to shape after the realization of the unique opportunity I was given to interact with the most professional colleagues, medical students, residents, fellows, and attendings – including those in private practice. Never before did I dream of working in every field of medicine, from internal and family medicine, to surgery, to even psychiatry wards. For this, I will always feel an honorary member of that group of individuals who have been granted a unique blessing to excel as a student in nursing.