Hi guys! On the “About Me” section, I shared a bit of what I do as a nurse and Media Coordinator for a vegan marketing/media company. This post will be a bit longer since it will go into more depth, so to kick off this blog, I want to share how I came to the profession and a bit of my nursing journey over the last nine years, sprinkle in the vegan journey, my chihuahua and you get the origin story!
For the ones in the profession, when did you know you wanted to be a nurse? Did someone push you, told you, made you? I did not have anyone in my family who came from a medical background, except maybe my mother…she did medical billing back in Peru during the 1970’s. When high school graduation was looming, the typical conversations were about college and the majors people were choosing; I had no idea what I wanted to do or what college, but as a child I remember wanting to be in medicine. Looking back now, I’m surprised my mother did not nag and push me to choose a major or college…her being Asian/Latin and all, she just made it very clear I was to go to college. All I knew was that everyone was choosing nursing or another field and I was clueless. I ended up taking a year off and working for a government contractor till I was nineteen, taking community college basic classes.
After a year, I knew I couldn’t continue working and attending community college, so I looked into colleges and I came across Southern Adventist University. I was accepted right away and within a month I made the move to Tennessee as a nursing major because everyone was doing it (insert eye roll here) and it seemed like the logical decision. The thinking was that as a nurse, I would always have a job, always make money, and in an emergency, I would always know what to do. I had a great time in college and still remember those years fondly; the program was extremely hard to get into and to keep up. The passing percentage there was 78% or you were kicked out of the program, so the hours of studying were long and tests very hard. I graduated four years later with an Associate’s, moved back to South Florida, took the NCLEX (which is the accreditation test that gives you your license) within a month of graduation and moving back to Florida. Two months after that, I got my first job working in Miami, and the following year after that, I completed my Baccalaureate’s degree. Pfff…even I’m tired describing this…I did so much in such a short amount of time.
During my time in Miami, I started in an orthopedic floor and I got day shift! I remember during the interview when I asked about which shift, I would get, I felt a little like Harry Potter when he asked, “for anything but Slytherin”. My “Gryffindor” was day shift, I did not want night shift, but new grads cannot be choosers. Somehow I got lucky; the only available day shift was passed over by the night shift nurses…I have no idea why because any day shift opening is quickly taken by night shift. I stayed on that floor for about two years or so until I got bored and started to see where else I could go; I was also lucky that I had a great director. She encouraged everyone to move, to grow and she was the logical choice to help me see what else I could do. She ended up suggesting the ER…what? Me? Seriously?
“Yes, you, I think you have the perfect personality to take on the challenge.”
So down to the ER/trauma I went, and I stayed there for about four years; again, I started getting restless. During that time, many travelers came and went, I listened to all the places they’ve traveled to and the amount of money that can be made by traveling and I became fascinated. That did it for me, I had to travel! I researched travel agencies, read anything I could find on travel nursing, put in my two-week notice, packed up my clothes and my dog Taro, and started a new chapter in my life as a traveler.
Traveling was a different experience; contracts are mainly thirteen weeks and that contract can be extended but you cannot stay in the same assignment for more than a year due to tax reasons. Traveling gives you the opportunity to visit different places, meet different people, you do make more money but, it also gets you out of your comfort zone. Every new assignment, there’s different co-workers, doctors, policies and even different types of patients. I met some awesome people that I still keep in contact with and still remember fondly the good times we had. During this time, Taro passed away from a doggy stroke and I adopted a chihuahua that I named Kona.
Kona at the March to Free Lolita 2019
After a year of traveling, I moved back to SoFlo in 2017, and started to work for another hospital system, but this time in the cath lab. I still go down to the ER to keep up my IV and triage skills, plus I love blood and guts. It was during this time that I went to Ft. Lauderdale VegFest on a free weekend off; by this time I was reaching my ten year veganniversay, so I naturally wanted to check all the vegan hotspots in SoFlo and also hang out with like-minded people. This is the VegFest that changed my life once again and added another facet to my career; I met the founder of SoFlo Vegans Sean. It started with me attending some of the vents, to an extra set of hands at events, to “Hey, you wanna captain this event?”.
Here we are now, three years later: Media Coordinator, co-host of SFV Podcast and writing my first official The Veg Nurse Blog posting. This blog came about from meeting some awesome fellow vegan medical professionals, athletes, influencers, authors, entrepreneurs who came as guests and had a story to tell and me wanting to know. I couldn’t be more thankful or more excited to start as a blogger. I welcome questions and comments, so please comment in the comment section.
With peace and gratitude,