My father was a Cuban fisherman from a small rural Cuban town who taught me the value of a true sense of humility and selfless 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, eventually forced to flee his country in search of freedom.
I arrived in the United States at age four with tears rolling down my cheeks for the loved ones left behind and my father’s promise of a more secure 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 my college years, after multiple mature conversations with my father, I realized that I wanted to serve those who need it most: the sick, the weak, and those drawing their last breath. Thus, I decided to become a nurse.
The University of XXXX Accelerated BSN Program was, without question, a daunting feat. In my case, this proved to be more so, as my brother, who had just turned twenty-one, was diagnosed with metastatic malignancy in New York. This year, of endless nights studying despite the profound 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 comforting words and warm hands to those who needed them. 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 I continue my studies toward Family Nurse Practitioner Certification, as the plan had always been. Our economic 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 big 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 to see patients improve. In these three years, I have humbly learned more than I have taught.
My deep appreciation started to take shape after realizing 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 did I dream of working in every field of medicine, from internal and family therapy to surgery to even psychiatry wards. For this, I will always feel like an honorary member of that group of individuals who have been granted a unique blessing to excel as a Nursing student earning the MSN Degree.