Two years ago, I came to a difficult crossroads. I lost my job, my health, and my home, all in a matter of months.
After 17 years of employment, management restructuring resulted in cost-cutting to the retail store I managed. I was let go. That weekend, my family tried to lift my spirits by including me on a ski trip. It was the first and last time I would ever ski.
On a run down a beginner hill, I flipped and shattered my left tibia and fibula. I was hospitalized. Although the doctors hoped for a six-week recovery, I required seven surgeries and had to remain non-weight bearing, sitting or lying down, for several months.
I had no income and three young sons to support. Before long, I was unable to pay my mortgage. I feared my children and I would become homeless. I felt overwhelmed and devastated. But my three children’s lives depend on my success. Despite the circumstances, I couldn’t give up.
During my darkest moments, I felt as if I had no supports.
I found myself reflecting on moments when I felt most supported. Oddly, it was while I was in the hospital immediately after the accident. The nurses I encountered not only fulfilled my healthcare needs, but they also addressed my mental health needs. They told me I would be okay. That things would get better. They talked with me about my family and hobbies. We had genuine interactions that helped me feel cared for and supported. I honestly don’t think I would be where I am currently, if it wasn’t for those nurses. Their words later served as my mantra during low moments.
Motivated by my need to protect and support my children, I reached out to several local service organizations. Later, I decided to return to school to become a nurse. I started back to school on crutches, after seven surgeries, and a knee replacement. Today, I am a student in a local nursing program.
Growing up as a Latina American living in poverty, I have seen how these communities have experienced poor healthcare which often resulted in poorer health. I see the need for skilled nurses and believe that I can make a difference. Long-term, I hope to serve people in vulnerable communities.
Someday, I hope to be like the nurses who helped me. I want people to feel supported when they may be at their lowest. I want to provide excellent healthcare to those who need it most. I want to honor everyone who has encouraged and supported me.