Education Award Winner 2012

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The winner of’s 2012 $5,000 Education Award is…Vanessa Garcia of Pembroke Pines, FL. We are delighted to give back to the Nursing community as this is our 4th consecutive year to offer our Award. Vanessa and her family are thrilled she is our 2012 winner! She will graduate with her BSN from Barry University in December, 2012. Vanessa has a family of 4 and she was concerned about how she would pay for this last semester. The call from notifying her as the winner was very welcome news!

She mentioned that as she was applying online for the Award, she told her husband “I never win anything, but I’m going to apply anyway”. Good thing she did!

While going to school full time at Barry University, Vanessa is also the mother of 2 young boys, ages 5 and 8. She said she never could’ve pursued her dream of becoming a Nurse without the support of her husband and his family. Vanessa’s husband helps her with homework, cooking meals and taking care of their children so she can attend classes and study.

When asked what drew her to Nursing, she responded “it’s a career that’s very diverse and offers a variety of specialties. It’s not just bedside nursing. There are so many different environments and things you can do as a Nurse.” She feels she’ll never be bored in the Nursing field. She loves that she’s constantly learning which has made her grow as a person.

$5,000 Education Award - Nurse Education GrantVanessa’s is a success story. Her high school years were quite difficult as there were many family issues which caused her to move out of her home and live with various relatives. Due to the problems at home and lack of a consistent place to live, she dropped out of high school in 10th grade. Soon after that, she studied hard and got her GED. She went on to Miami Dade College, was in the phi-theta-kappa honor society and received her AS in Arts. Barry University accepted her immediately and she started working on her BS full time in the fall of 2010. She is looking forward to her critical care rotation, preceptorship and graduation in December. While she has loved her classes and clinical rotations, it has been a very tough and intense program while also raising a family.

She has learned so much through her clinical rotations at the Cleveland Clinic, Memorial West, Memorial Regional, and the Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Hospital, FL. It was at the Holtz Children’s Hospital where Vanessa did her pediatric rotation and discovered her love of pediatrics. She stated “I really want to help the little ones. Nursing means so much more than the perception people have of Nursing. It’s not just a career. It’s about who you are — being empathetic, advocating for and comforting your patients. We are their voices and we must always take in to consideration what could worsen their situation. Taking the skills we’ve learned and applying them at clinical rotations has been so rewarding.”IMG_0477

Vanessa was always fascinated with the medical field. She loves interacting with the patients and being “in tune” with them.  “The best thing is taking care of the patients and they are very appreciative. When they’ve told me, you’re going to be a great Nurse, it makes my day!” Vanessa confided there are times she has questioned herself because the coursework has been so hard, but the patients have made her efforts so worth it.

Her 8 year old son asked her to come to Career Day and she was delighted to be asked. Her boys are so proud of her and they should be! Vanessa is our 1st $5,000 Education Award winner who is raising a family while attending school and clinical rotations. We are proud of her too and wish her all the best!

After graduation, Vanessa hopes for a Nursing position in the Memorial Health System in FL specializing in Labor/Delivery and Pediatrics. After working a few years, she plans to get her Master’s degree and be a Nurse Practitioner.

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