NYU Meyers College of Nursing
Class of May 2017
Healthcare and I have been flirting since my freshman year of college in 2005. A talented, but troubled individual who I’d grown up with had taken his life, and when I attended his wake, I was amazed to see how someone who felt so lonely and hopeless was overwhelmingly loved. The line to get into the funeral home was a New York City block long, and it was then that I decided I would major in psychology and work with adolescents. I felt a calling to identify troubled youths at risk for self-harm, and guide them in seeing a brighter present, and an exciting future.
My pursuit of psychology continued until one fateful evening in the fall of 2008. I was on a date with my grandma. We went to see The 39 Steps on Broadway together, and my life changed from the moment the curtain went up. Having been in all the school shows from elementary school through college, I found a new professional calling- acting. I had to be on the stage. I felt that I could always go back to school to be a psychologist, and my window of opportunity for acting was now or never. I spent the next five years pursuing a beautiful and horrifying dream. I’ve performed on stages all over the east coast, played in classical, contemporary, and experimental projects, and earned a prestigious regional award for work I’d done as the leading actor in a musical. I was living the dream. I had rationalized my departure from professional psychology by insisting in the therapeutic value theatre held for its audiences, and therefore, kept my courtship with healthcare alive.
As an artist, I learned to embrace life and let life’s forces work on me, as opposed to struggle and fight against life’s challenges. I was presented with an incredible opportunity to train and manage at my survival job. All I had to do to accept this promotion was let my company fly me to Las Vegas for a national managers’ conference, accept a substantial pay raise, and if I really wanted, jump out of an airplane (go skydiving). I accepted, and all of a sudden, my life veered from acting as I took on my new work responsibilities. I knew I’d return to acting shortly, as I was booked for my international stage debut in London July 2014. However, as a manager and trainer, I was able to positively affect so many lives by empowering them to earn a living while having fun.
Everything came to a halt when my mom had a heart attack. She had been living with mitral valve prolapse for some time, and the combination of stress and regurgitation became disastrous to her health. She scheduled surgery. I was in London when the surgery happened, but as soon as I got off the plane in New York I went straight to the hospital, where I proceeded to keep my mom company and care for her for six weeks once she was released. While at the hospital, I observed the nursing staff and chatted with them. They all loved their jobs. My wheels were spinning, and I saw a confluence of all my skills- psychology, acting, managing, training, and yes, even jumping out of airplanes, in this career path. Once again, I took a dive.
Fast forward two and a half years. I could not be happier with my decision. In May I will graduate from NYU’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing. It has been wonderful, and I’m truly grateful to be learning from compassionate and ambitious educators who are relentlessly encouraging. I work at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell as a nursing companion, and every day I go to work, I am grateful to have the opportunity to participate in peoples’ health journey. I recently shadowed in the ICU, and it was an incredible experience. As nurses, we protect the greatest and most precious gift of all- life.
Currently I serve as the co-president of NYU’s Men Entering Nursing. I would like to work with MIN to develop opportunities to enhance our outreach impact on high-school and college-aged men to encourage them to pursue nursing careers. Social norms have not yet caught up with today’s realities, and as only 9% of the national nursing workforce, there is much work that can be done in bringing more men into this special field.
I am excited about my future. I am excited about your future. Thank you for doing what you do, for choosing to care for others, and for banding together in this organization. I’d like to extend a special thank you to Fidel Lim, who has been a champion to me, and I’m sure, to many of you. Together, I look forward to discovering all the good we can do as nurses, always remembering to dare to ask my favorite Fidel phrase, “Can you imagine?”