I was born in the Caribbean on an island called Cuba. I grew up to the beaches and classic American cars up until I had to leave. Initially, I never thought I would ever leave Cuba which makes my childhood seem so distant because of the ideologies I held back then that have changed so much over time. My very first memory of doing anything the profession of healthcare was at a very young age giving first aid to a classmate who had chocked on his plate of food. Over time I came to treat wounds and even once perform CPR although as a test in health class. Eventually, we had to move with my family from Cuba to the United States something that utterly terrified me. There was a valid reason to be scared because my first years in the country were very tough. I quickly find challenges in language, culture and environment. However, my passion for giving care did not diminish, I had a dream to become a registered nurse and this was, after all, the land of dreams. This is a personal reflection on my journey from childhood to attending nursing school after graduating from high school.
There was a show on the television show I loved when growing up, ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ about students in the medical profession learning from superiors in the industry in the process to become the best doctors in the world. I loved the show growing up. I would walk around with a cord or a string around my neck as a makeshift stethoscope and then I would feel the heartbeat of furniture toys and everything else I could find. I saw the way these characters saved lives and even though I barely understood any of it, I knew that that was what I was meant for. Of course, I grew up and discovered that what I had been watching were surgeons, there were also doctors and nurses among many others in the profession and I settle more and more into nursing care as I grew up. Most kids do not know what they want to do in life but that was never a question for me, I wanted to nurse people back to health. I wanted to take care of those who were ailing until they regained their health and smiles and walk away ‘happily ever after’. My story makes me believe even more that nursing as a profession is a calling more than it is merely a job.
With moving to America, I have grown to appreciate the importance of language. Inability to communicate with people in the same language is a great challenge to anybody who moves into America from a non-English speaking country. I started learning the language immediately and in no time I was able to speak, write and read in English. This has become very instrumental even in my regular school work. A wide range of books are written in the language both for nursing and casual novels which I have grown to enjoy very much. Online, the websites offer translation capabilities, but one thing I have also discovered is that when it comes to language, the translation always loses some authenticity with regards to the original literature. I have been able to read even more books on health and advance my knowledge further with the newly acquired language.
My parents have supported me immensely in my dreams paying for my various expenses and school fees. All through since I discovered my passion, my parents have been there with encouragement through every hurdle. For instance, I remember seriously considering quitting and moving back to Cuba when I had trouble learning English they spoke but rather than scolding me to stay motivated and school, they ensured that I understood that good things only come to those who persevere. Up until now, I carry that passion for perseverance given to me by my parents. I took a part-time job to help with my expenses and reduce the burden and even got more committed and everything since has been working as it should.
Nursing as a profession in America is not so much about career advancement for me, it is about the basic capability of humans to care for each other when at their weakest and their strongest. As a patient sometimes in a dental or optical hospital, I understand how health is important to each one of us. I admire components of the profession such as holistic nursing care where nursing goes beyond physical care of patients to healing the whole person with regards to awareness of emotional, mental and spiritual care as well. The reason this bit fascinates me is that it is very applicable in today’s world. People who have the right mental attitude towards healing often get well quicker than those that ultimately give up. Healing goes beyond care and into inspiration to get up and get better. Seeing nursing as a job will have us nurses concerned with the treatment and that becomes the entire scope missing out on providing holistic nursing cares that heals all bits of the patient.
In future, I see myself as a registered nurse practising in one of the big hospitals in America. I have not thought of whether I would want to move back to Cuba to practise there but it is still very early on the learning and schooling part of nursing. Beyond the profession, I would like to work in humanitarian projects around the world providing better health for people from different regions. I would love to travel to Europe and Africa as well, in particular areas often mention in the novels I read. I am confident with my learning abilities and my potential for hard work and after all that I have seen and been through I can easily declare that there is nowhere else to go but up.