The All of Us Research Program

The All of Us Research Program

Minorities are often not accurately represented in clinical trials. For example, although Hispanics comprise 17% of the population of the United States, in terms of participants in nationwide clinical trials, only 1% are of Hispanic origin. The All of Us Research Program is determined to change this.

Norma G. Cuellar, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) and a professor at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing, took time to explain all about All of Us.

What is All of Us and how does it work? How is the program attracting participants?

The All of Us Research Program is a historic effort to gather data over many years from one million or more people living in the United States, with the ultimate goal of accelerating research and improving health.

After completing the consent process, participants will be asked to contribute information about their medical history and lifestyle. Participants, who come from all 50 states, may also be asked to have their physical measurements (blood pressure, height, and weight, etc.) taken at a local enrollment center and/or to donate blood and urine samples. They will have access to their study results, along with summarized data from across the program.

NAHN is a community partner in the Community & Provider Gateway Initiative (CPGI), a part of the All of Us Research Program with the National Institutes of Health. NAHN has joined the effort to promote awareness of the initiative among health care providers of Latinxs and the Latinx community. NAHN, like other partners, are holding local events within communities such as webinars, booths at festivals, and sharing information at local health fairs.

Additionally, the program has two mobile exhibits, called the All of Us Journey, which tours the U.S. to spread awareness and educate communities about the program. The second Journey bus has an enrollment center on it that allows visitors to enroll in the program on-site.

All of Us

We now have more than 200,000 participants enrolled and are on target with our goal of having at least 75% of our participants come from historically underrepresented communities in biomedical research. This is why our work at NAHN to raise awareness within the community is so important.

Diversity is a core part of All of Us, and our goal is to achieve “quadruple diversity” – diversity of people, geography, health status, and data types.

What kind of data are you collecting and why? Who will be able to gain access to this data? What will they be using it for?

After participants complete the consent process, they will be asked to contribute information about their medical history and lifestyle and can even opt to share their electronic health record. The next step, participants will be asked to share their physical measurements (blood pressure, height and weight, etc.) and donate blood and urine samples, which is captured at a local enrollment center. This year, the program announced a partnership with Fitbit to enable participants to sync their wearable device with their All of Us account to share data such as the number of steps they take daily. As technology improves, the program hopes to increase the types of data it collects.

The program will have the scale and scope to enable research for a wide range of health research. A research program of this size will have the statistical power to detect associations between environmental and/or biological exposures and a wide variety of health outcomes.

Examples of the scientific opportunities presented by the program are:

  • Develop ways to measure risk for a range of diseases based on environmental exposures, genetic factors, and interactions between the two
  • Identify the causes of individual differences in response to commonly used drugs (commonly referred to as pharmacogenomics)
  • Discover biological markers that signal increased or decreased risk of developing common diseases

And in May 2019, the program released their beta version of its interactive Data Browser, to provide a first look at the data that participants are sharing for health research. For researchers like myself, this is really exciting!

Participants, researchers, citizen scientists, and other members of the public may use the online tool to learn more about the All of Us participant community and explore summary data. Later, researchers will be able to request access to more in-depth data for use in a wide range of studies that may lead to more customized ways to prevent and treat disease.

The program is said to run for 10 years. So will researchers be accessing the information for the remaining nine years? Or do you need to hit a certain number of people to begin making the information available?

The program launched their beta version of its interactive Data Browser, and later, more in-depth data will be available through the Researcher Workbench. Researchers seeking access to more in-depth data than the public Data Browser will need to register, complete researcher ethics training, and sign a data use agreement.

Just as diversity in participants and in data types is important to All of Us, so is the diversity in researchers. As a researcher, I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities to advance precision medicine will be possible with the All of Us unique data set.

How and why will this help research? In what ways?

Building a diverse research cohort of one million or more people will enable researchers to conduct medical research that is more reflective of the diverse population of the United States. Nationally, the growth of the Hispanic population has remained consistent, and it is expected to reach 28.6% by 2060. The All of Us Research Program will advance precision medicine and ensure that no one is left behind in future studies—including the Hispanic community.

For more information, visit JoinAllofUs.org.

Active Shooter Event: What Will You Do?

Active Shooter Event: What Will You Do?

So often today, you turn on the news to see that another shooting has happened in the nation. They happen at schools, movies, concerts, nightclubs, grocery stores, shopping malls, and even in health care facilities.

Do you know what you would do if you were around when an active shooter event took place? David W. McRoberts, CPP, a retired Law Enforcement Captain with 30 years of experience, is a security consultant for The Sullivan Group, is the Owner of Assured Assessments, Inc., and is the co-author of the course “Active Shooter Event in a Healthcare Environment.” McRoberts says that instead of becoming a victim who says after such an event, “I couldn’t believe what was happening, and there was nothing I could do,” nurses need to know that “There is always something each of us can do—but we must have thought it through in advance.”

Develop These 3 Habits

McRoberts says that nurses should subscribe to the following personal protection skills as their personal safety habits:

  • Situational Awareness: Knowing exactly where they are, where they are moving to or from, and what exists around them in terms of their realistic ability to react to occurrences in their presence.
  • It Can Happen Anywhere: Nurses must acknowledge that bad things happen—and often without warning. McRoberts says that this doesn’t mean nurses need to become paranoid, but rather, understand that shootings can happen anywhere.
  • See the Threat: He also states that nurses must develop the ability to look for and see threats—and suspend disbelief. “They must take the first two habits and merge them into an ironclad ability to not become paralyzed with shock and fear and fall victim simply because they never once even considered the fact that they would need to function in a moment of the gravest extreme,” says McRoberts.

Shots Fired: What Do You Do?

When asked about the first thing that nurses should do, McRoberts says, “Because nurses are professional caretakers with ethical, moral, and personal value-based responsibilities in the care of others, this is not an easy circumstance to navigate. Active Shooter Events on average last about two minutes. Shooter victims can be random or specific individuals that the shooter targets.

“With that as a baseline, I believe that creating or increasing what law enforcement refers to as the ‘reactionary gap’ is essential. Simply put, this is creating more distance and/or cover between themselves and the threat. That may mean temporarily leaving the immediate area of patient care. Nurses may feel they are abandoning their patients, but they need to remember that these events are over in about two minutes. The brutal truth is that when faced with a person bent on shooting and killing people, nurses who are determined to remain stalwart and immovable will, in all probability, become victims themselves and incapable of delivering patient care. It’s better to have moved away from the threat and then return to patients when the event is over.”

Do You Interact?

What happens next? Do nurses provide aid? Should they talk with the shooter? “There are as many different scenarios to Active Shooter Events as there are events themselves; they are very dynamic events. A nurse’s first reaction to an injury resulting from an Active Shooter Event would be to render aid. Perhaps this is the right thing to do—maybe this action will decentralize the shooter’s thought process enough to stop the carnage. But like so many reported Active Shooter Events, it may be that nothing stops the shooting and killing until and unless the shooter stops or is stopped,” explains McRoberts. “A nurse may believe he/she can reason with an active shooter, but attempting this may be a tactical mistake; interacting/talking with a person who has already decided to shoot, injure, and kill others is too risky. Begging for compassion from a shooter—including begging for their own life or the life of another—needs to be supplanted with fighting for their own life and the lives of others.”

 Keeping a Clear Head

Unless you prepare before an Active Shooter Event occurs, it can be nearly impossible to keep a clear head. “Each of the previous skill developments build one upon the other to create a foundation of action items that give nurses the best chance to survive. With that as underlying support, the next step is practicing ‘stress inoculation’—not the clinical variety, but the very practical application of understanding our limitations as humans and what happens to us physiologically when we are under extreme stress,” says McRoberts.

“Tachypsychia, auditory exclusion, and fine motor skill erosion occur in everyone and diminish our abilities to function under stress. However, we can mitigate these negative effects and develop the ability to function through the high stress of an Active Shooter Event. In its most basic form, stress inoculation is the practice of very specific actions, movements, and functions. Consider what we would need to do in a high-stress event: see clearly what is happening; speak clearly to communicate; walk or run; dial a phone; etc. To complete tasks under stress, nurses need to practice them while under manufactured stress,” says McRoberts. “For example, a common situation in an Active Shooter Event might be finding and climbing stairs, and then dialing your cell phone and telling someone out loud your exact location. Nurses can practice speaking into a phone clearly and in a controlled manner while breathing at an accelerated rate from a brisk walk, run, or stair climb; they can test and challenge each other with random quizzing by unexpectedly asking a colleague exactly where they are located; and they can follow that up with asking them where they would move to for the greatest level of safety. These seem like extremely simple things, but it is practicing them in advance that is the secret to making them ‘simple.’ Once you know you can do these things, it creates a positive cascading effect of believing in yourself and your ability to complete these tasks under stress. Like anything else, the more we practice something, the better we get at it.”

Final Tips

McRoberts give these final tips to give nurses guidance as to what they should and shouldn’t do in an Active Shooter Event:

  • Look for the threat and then react to it; don’t panic and freeze.
  • Remember that this event will happen quickly and will only take about two minutes, but you will perceive it to be very long and protracted.
  • Rely upon your new mindset, knowing that you can function through this event.
  • Know exactly where you are (your surroundings) and where you must move to for safety.
  • Know what to say to communicate to others, including what may be required by pre-established agency/facility protocols.
  • Know that you may have to move more than once.
  • Don’t try to negotiate or plead with an active shooter; you are better fighting for your life, not begging for your life.
  • Know in advance that you may have to move away from patients temporarily to survive so you can be there to help them later.
  • Know that when law enforcement gets to the scene, they will move quickly past everyone and everything to get to the shooter and stop them; this may mean moving past injured people, patients, colleagues, and you.
Navigating the Road to Nursing Leadership

Navigating the Road to Nursing Leadership

Leadership—it’s the Holy Grail that’s stressed in business and health care administration. But how can you get there? And how do you know if nursing leadership is even right for you?

“Not everyone has the skills, desire, or disposition to be an administrative leader,” says Laura S. Scott, PCC, CPC, ELI-MP, CPDFA, president and founder of 180 Coaching, an executive coaching and leadership training provider based in Tampa, Florida. “I recommend that my clients go to a trusted supervisor and ask, ‘Where do you see me going as a professional and leader?’ and then just listen. You might be surprised at what you hear. If you have a role in mind, ask that trusted supervisor if they think you would be a good fit for that role and ask, ‘Why or why not?’”

Use caution when thinking about getting into leadership. “Don’t rush into what isn’t easily seen as an opportunity,” says Alisha Cornell, DNP, MSN, RN, a clinical consultant with Relias, a health care talent and performance solutions company. To decide whether a leadership role is right for them and what they want get out of it, Cornell says that self-exploration is necessary. “How did the nurses identify that they even wanted to be nurses? My recommendations are to stick to the original design. Whatever got you to nursing school and whatever helped to push you out of there, that’s your personalized equation.”

If you’re not sure if you want to be a leader, Romeatrius Nicole Moss, DNP, RN, APHN-BC, founder and CEO of Black Nurses Rock, says, “First, it is determined by the specialty you enjoy, followed by what you can contribute. Leadership starts now, as a staff nurse.” She suggests you ask yourself these questions:

  • Do people often come to you for help, advice?
  • Do you offer suggestions at meetings?
  • Are you the go-to person for issues on the unit before elevation to leadership?
  • Are you available, outgoing, approachable?

“If you are the unit leader, charge nurse, etc., these positions are set up to move you to the [higher] levels when opportunities arise,” explains Moss. “So be ready.”

If you know that you aspire to a leadership position, then move ahead. If you don’t or you try a leadership role and don’t like it, that’s okay. “If you don’t like nursing leadership, you can always go back to patient care,” says Thomas Uzuegbunem, BSN, RN, an RN administrative supervisor as well as the editor of the nursing leadership blog, NurseMoneyTalk.com. “Some nurses can get enough leadership fulfillment by being on a board. Others find that it’s not enough, and they want to move into nursing leadership as a career.”

Make sure that after self-reflection, you are the one making the decision to move into a leadership position. “Nurses who are seen as good caregivers are often promoted. While patient care is extremely important, being able to care for a patient does not mean that a nurse can care for a team of peers,” explains Bill Prasad, LPC, LCDC, CTC, a licensed professional counselor who has also worked as a hospital director and a leadership coach. “A nurse must understand that moving to a leadership role means you are moving from a focus on health care to a focus on organizational health.”

If that doesn’t fit in your life goals, there’s no shame in not pursuing leadership or moving into management. Yanick D. Joseph, RN, MPA, MSN, EdD, an assistant professor of nursing at Montclair State University in New Jersey sums it up: “Not everyone is destined to lead or to be an administrator,” she says.

Skills and Characteristics Needed for Nursing Leadership

“Leaders are born, but there are no born leaders,” says Prasad. “Becoming an effective leader takes training and education. Without this, you don’t know what you don’t know.”

Communication, flexibility, and organizational skills are the most important skills that Moss believes nurses wanting to move to leadership need to have. “Leaders should have the skills that allow them to be calm in stressful situations such as in crisis, emergencies, schedule management, and more,” she says. Nurses also need the “ability to work with different personalities and change leadership styles based on the staff member. Nurses should understand this even while working with their teams: you cannot use the same leadership style on everyone. Some people do better with taskers and checklists, while others need a little supervision to flourish.”

Moss says that leaders must be relatable and personable. “Allow your staff to see you get your hands dirty. Be the expert on the unit/department and show the team your skills and that you can handle the unit if need be. Start IVs, jump in on a code, participate while letting your team lead.”

One other characteristic Moss believes is imperative for nurses who want to lead is to be calm when challenged or with disagreements. “It is important to understand differences of opinion and to negotiate the best options. It’s even more important when dealing with difficult staff, family, etc. to not get emotional and to always be open-minded.” She admits that this was tough for her when she began to lead. “I had to understand the different personalities, politics, and overall strategic plan, and how they all come into play with decision making. Once you get this, your life will become less stressful,” she explains.

Scott agrees that good communication skills are crucial. “Effective communication and opening the channels for two-way feedback is very important. Also important is knowing what keeps these staff and providers on board and engaged so that you can give them what they need to stay motivated and fulfilled,” says Scott.

When communicating with others, Cornell says to keep this in mind: “Nurses are well-versed in the scientific methods of providing care from an academic perspective, but relating to ourselves, learning to listen for the conversation instead of solving a problem, and not reacting spontaneously are all critical skills of a strong leader.”

Nurses also need to be patient and have courage. “These characteristics are important because the normal job responsibilities of the nurse require quick thinking and paying attention to details. However, being a great leader requires the brain to slow down and digest the information in order to resolve a problem or at least know where to look to resolve it,” says Cornell.

Nurse leaders, Uzuegbunem says, must have an ability to accept diversity and understand technology. “Nurse leaders must be able to embrace diversity and adapt to those cultural differences of the nurses they lead as well as the patients the nurses take care of,” says Uzuegbunem. “Technology is having more of an influence in health care. From electronic medical records to the equipment nurses use. [Leaders] need to be able to adapt to these technological changes.”

Educational Necessities

While our sources have different opinions on how much education leaders need, one thing is certain: if you want to hold a leadership position, you must keep learning all the time.

“Nurses need to obtain additional education, certifications, and always continue to have a thirst for knowledge,” says Cornell. “A nurse leader should have, at minimum, a master’s degree in a focused area of nursing.” While she says other advanced degrees are helpful, one focused specifically on nursing “drives the objectives of nurse leadership and the shared experiences of nurse leaders. At the advanced leadership level—which includes directors and CNOs, they should have a doctorate. The terminal degree is a collaborative journey of nursing experience and leadership needed to facilitate a structured systems approach to patient care and organization of nursing teams.”

“A nurse aspiring a position in leadership should attain the highest level above what the unit or department requires,” suggests Moss. “Managing nurses who have higher credentials could lead to resentment or turnover as the staff nurse doesn’t see progression at the top. A unit should be led by the expert, in my opinion, the go-to person. This person should obtain the needed certification, education, and training to support this.”

Scott reminds nurses to check to see if the facility you work for provides funding for earning advanced education. “Many hospital groups will offer tuition reimbursement to qualified candidates, so you don’t have to go into deep debt to get this education,” she says.

Uzuegbunem believes that there’s no set educational path to leadership. “Depending on who you talk to, you’ll get different answers. Some will say that nurses should have at least a BSN before being able to get into leadership. I don’t. I also don’t think a certification is needed. All that’s required is a desire to lead others and a willingness to serve those you lead,” he argues.

Money, Money, Money

Besides the other skills, characteristics, and education that prospective leaders need, there’s another that many don’t consider—financial knowledge. Jane C. Kaye, MBA, president of HealthCare Finance Advisors, states that nurses in supervisory positions in all types of health care facilities need to have some financial skills. “The financial health of health care organizations depends on how well nurse leaders manage staff and supply costs. For example, salaries are the single largest expense line in any health care facility, and nurses represent the largest share of salaries. Similarly, nurses lead large departments such as surgical services, where supply costs are very high. If salary and supply costs are not managed, the sheer size of these spending areas can jeopardize the financial health of the health care entity,” explains Kaye.

According to Kaye, the types of financial skills nurse leaders need include: management of full-time equivalent staff, management of supplies, expense variance analysis techniques, knowledge of budgets, an understanding of operating statistics, and an understanding charge capture techniques so that all services performed are included on the patients’ bills.

For nurses who don’t have good math and finance skills, Kaye suggests that they find a trusted colleague in finance to help them understand financial concepts. “They should never be afraid to ask questions,” she says.

Attending webinars, seminars, and workshops on finance may also help.

Prep Work

A good way to prepare for a nursing leadership role, says Scott, is by taking on leadership roles outside of work. For those who want to become more confident speakers and grow in leadership presence, she recommends looking into Toastmasters, a national organization with chapters across the U.S. that help members learn to give great speeches.

Cornell says that networking is a must but can begin way before nurses are even considering leadership roles. “Knowing colleagues in the industry is always a plus, and it helps to learn what other nurses are doing. Volunteering for committees and sitting on boards are all great experiences, and nurse leaders should participate in these activities,” says Cornell. She cautions that doing this should be fine. If it’s not what the nurse is aligned with liking or doing then s/he will lose interest fast.

“Becoming part of committees and boards allows you to gain the experience and confidence you need to speak out on your opinions, work with different personalities, and see your strengths and weaknesses,” says Moss. “It can really show you what type of leader you naturally are.”

To prepare for taking a leadership role, Joseph suggests the following: reading professional journals, attending seminars, networking, joining LinkedIn, researching the role you want, reaching out to professional organizations for best practices, speaking to a mentor or someone who has made the transition, being proactive and enthusiastic about learning the intricacies of the new role, and being visible.

No matter what, being true to yourself is most important. “Being a leader is challenging, arduous, demanding, trying, and hard,” says Joseph. “But the joy of doing what you are born to do and have a passion to accomplish is indescribable.”

UW Nurse Camp Offers Support to Underrepresented HS Students

UW Nurse Camp Offers Support to Underrepresented HS Students

When Carolyn A. Chow, MA, currently an HR recruiter and inclusion program lead at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, was the director of admissions and student diversity at the University of Washington (UW), she co-founded their successful UW Nurse Camp, which still continues today.

“For schools and colleges who want to make a longitudinal difference in the future of nursing and health equity, a program like UW Nurse Camp is a win-win for high schoolers, current nursing students who are mentored to be leaders, and nurses who want to make a difference in the lives of the high schoolers who shadow them,” says Chow. “Costs to run the program are completely covered by community donations.”

Chow took time to answer our questions about the camp.

You co-founded the UW Nurse Camp in 2009 while on staff. Why did you start it? Had you been thinking about it for a while?

We had a very dedicated team of student leaders who wanted to create a group that was for building community and mentorship opportunities among students of color in the nursing program. In 2007, we sat down to talk about ways we could do that. So, UW Nurse Camp became a way we could have underrepresented students have professional mentors, be mentors to fellow students and high schoolers, build community through a specific year-long project, and to provide a pipeline of “first in their family to go to college” as well as underrepresented-in-nursing applicants who would get support from UW School of Nursing through the program. It took two years of fundraising in the community and organizing before we launched the camp in summer 2009 with 24 campers. In 2018, the camp expanded to hosting 36 campers.

What is nurse camp, exactly? How long does it last and who attends?

UW Nurse Camp is a five-day, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. day camp. This year’s camp is July 15-19, 2019. UW Nurse Camp accepts applications from February 1 to April 15. High school sophomores and juniors who are underrepresented and/or first in their family to go to college are encouraged to apply. While most applicants are from Washington state, the camp has also had campers from California, Oregon, Maryland, and Illinois.

UW Nurse Camp is run completely by staff, nursing students, and community volunteers. Former campers who became UW BSN students are mentored to be UW Nurse Camp Leads, where they run the program so they can “give back” by sharing their success stories and serving as inspiration to future campers.

What do the high school students learn at UW Nurse Camp? 

The curriculum for UW Nurse Camp is designed to introduce high schoolers to the profession of nursing and everything it has to offer as a meaningful career. We focus on what a powerful difference diverse high school students can make in the promoting health equity. The sessions are taught and supervised by current and diverse UW Nursing students, alumni, staff, faculty, and community members. Campers also shadow nurses taking care of real patients and their families at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC).

From the UW Nurse Camp website:

  • Shadowing nurses at UWMC in various hospital units
  • Completing CPR certification and HIPAA training
  • Learning:
    • about infection control and proper hand washing techniques
    • how to take blood pressure and vitals
    • how to prepare for college and getting into nursing school
    • in the School of Nursing learning and simulation lab and UW Medicine’s WWAMI Institute for Simulation in Healthcare (WISH) Lab
  • Participating in nursing “speed rounds,” where you will meet and talk with nurses working in all areas of health care, including forensics, public health, emergency and research
  • Touring the UW Seattle campus

Why is it important to have this? What does it bring to the students that they may not get otherwise?

UW Nurse Camp is so important for students at all levels. Campers have access to a program that supports and teaches them about nursing and college educational opportunities. They get ongoing mentorship throughout camp and then continued support beyond from UW nursing students and alumni who are professional nurses. They meet diverse nurses in all different areas of nursing. In addition, they are continually advised by admissions staff on how to apply successfully to the UW BSN program and ways to prepare themselves to be competitive nursing applicants.

Current UW students are mentored with UW Nurse Camp as a leadership program. As UW Nurse Camp Leads, the students volunteer their time and efforts through the entire academic year to plan the UW Nurse Camp experience, including engaging in professional communication with camp speakers and instructors. They are mentored by School of Nursing staff in advising and youth program risk management. Additionally, the nursing students conduct the UW Nurse Camp admissions process.

Would you like to see this branch out and be something that other nursing schools offer? Why?

Absolutely. This is an incredibly successful program that supports underrepresented and first in their family to go college high schoolers in their journey to become professional nurses. They get to see diverse nursing students and professional nurses in action. The students also have inspiration and validation that they can make it through the nursing admissions process, and they gain networking contacts to support them throughout their process of graduating from high school, getting volunteer opportunities, completing prerequisites, and applying to college and nursing school.

Do most students who attend end up going into nursing? How do you think that UW Nurse Camp influences them?

According to a survey of former UW Nurse Campers, 50% of attendees pursued or are pursuing nursing. Another 30% pursue other health care careers. Finally, 20% opt for non-health-related majors. UW Nurse Camp influences them because as high schoolers they get access to professional nurses and clinical situations at the UWMC as well as support from UW nursing students, staff, and faculty. They gain access to role models in nursing who are committed to helping them to succeed in the profession. UW Nurse Camp demystifies the journey to becoming a nurse.

Interested in learning more about UW Nurse Camp? Visit here.

Frank Baez’s Journey From Hospital Janitor to Nurse

Frank Baez’s Journey From Hospital Janitor to Nurse

Frank Baez

Frank Baez poses with family and friends after his graduation ceremony. (Credit: Kate Lord/New York University)

Twelve years ago, when Frank Baez was spending his weekends cleaning patient rooms, bathrooms, and hallways at NYU Langone’s Hospital, he couldn’t have imagined that one day he would go from taking care of patient rooms to taking care of patients.

But that’s exactly what’s on the horizon for this recent graduate of NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

When Baez was a recent immigrant from the Dominican Republic, he was finishing high school in Brooklyn and learning English, while working part-time in housekeeping to help support his family. So how did he go from working as a janitor to becoming a nurse?

“I worked as a housekeeper for almost 3 years. While cleaning the rooms and hallways, I observed the interactions between health care professionals and patients and felt that a career in health care suits my values and aspirations,” says Baez, now 29.

He began working in health care by being a patient transporter, taking patients for imaging and other testing. During that time, Baez earned a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature with a minor in biological sciences at Hunter College.

After graduating from Hunter, Baez got a job as a unit clerk at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital’s special care unit. In this position, he developed a system that improved the process of how patients received their prescriptions after their discharge. While Baez was obviously doing well in his job, he wanted to do even more.

Baez wanted to be a nurse. His colleagues encouraged him to apply to nursing school, and the senior director of nursing even suggested writing his letter of recommendation.

“I became inspired to become a nurse by working with other nurses at NYU Langone Health. Seeing their work on a day-to-day basis and learning how they care for their patients and how they advocate for them inspired me to become one of them,” says Baez.

Frank Baez

Frank Baez at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital

Because Baez already had a degree, he was accepted into the accelerated program at the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. During an intense 15-months, Baez earned a degree in nursing with a 3.5+ GPA. He was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing as well.

During his final semester, Baez took the Critical Care Nursing elective, which gave him the opportunity to spend time in the Cardiac ICU. Now, he’s working on a Master’s degree to become an acute care nurse practitioner. “When I took care of my first heart transplant patient, I was impressed by the efficiency and skills of the nurse I worked with,” says Baez. “I also saw the power of medicine and nursing to tide over the patient in critical illness. I want to be a part of that.”

Baez has advice for anyone thinking of becoming a nurse: “I would advise any aspiring nurses to not let any barriers stand in your way. Most importantly, find mentors and coaches. Emulate their attributes and add grit and determination to achieve your goals,” says Baez. “Being in the right place at the right time is just the beginning—one must seize the possibilities. I did.”