May 9, 2016, 9:32 AM, Posted by Lucia Alfano
A nurse leader shares how she overcame significant barriers to pursue a successful career and what we can do to help minorities in nursing succeed.
I became a nurse by accident at a time in my life when I had no direction. My family had moved from Ecuador to Queens, New York when I was a child.
As a teen, there were times when I lived in group homes or even the streets and I felt completely lost. I dropped out of junior high.
When an acquaintance suggested in passing that I enroll in the nursing program at Queensborough Community College, I followed her advice without realizing that nursing would become my calling. I had to overcome obstacles that included lack of family support, finances and even basic academic skills.
I wanted so badly to be educated, that I persevered through these struggles. I found that I loved everything that had to do with nursing—from what we learned in class, to what we learned in the clinic, to volunteer work in the community.
- Learn more about how RWJF is working to help to expand the impact of nursing-related leadership, policy and practice.
I believe there are many young people who, like me, would thrive in nursing. But because of their background or existing challenges, they may believe that a career in nursing is not an option. In particular, young students may think that they cannot afford nursing school.