Esteban is a Staff Nurse at the VA Harlem Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Harlem, NY. He has worked for the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System (NYHHS) for almost 9 years. The clinic is a walk-in primary care facility that is part of the VA NYHHS system. He works closely with a Nurse Practitioner and is a former ER/ICU/CCU/GI Nurse.
Pat Magrath of DiversityNursing.com had a recent phone meeting with Esteban for this eNewsletter. It turns out Esteban is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) NYC Chapter, and they met 2 years ago when he visited the DiversityNursing.com booth at the NAHN Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas. He stopped by our booth last year as well at the NAHN Conference in Washington, DC.
After visiting the DiversityNursing.com booth, he thought about registering for the Award, but was discouraged because “he never wins anything”. When he saw how easy it was to register, he decided to do it. He’s glad he did and encourages everyone to register “because you never know what will happen”! Esteban said “This came at the right moment”.
Esteban is a native of Puerto Rico. When he was in Jr. High School, 2 of his neighbors were studying Nursing at a vocational high school in his hometown. When he saw what they were doing, he thought it was interesting and decided to check it out. He realized he wanted to be a nurse! Esteban finished High School with a Nurse’s Aide Certificate and his first job was as a volunteer in a small hospital in his hometown. He then went to college for his degree. As he was about to start his 4th year in college, he discovered New York City hospitals were recruiting Nurses from Puerto Rico. That’s how he came to New York and achieved his New York Registered Nurse license.
He is now a graduate student at Walden University in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) – RN Track. He has 2 classes to finish his Foundational courses and will graduate with his MSN in Leadership & Management in June 2013! His goal is to be a Clinical Nurse Leader at The VA. He will use the $5,000 Education Award to continue his Master’s and pay for extracurricular expenses.
When asked what drew Esteban to Nursing, he replied he can work in any field including hands-on work at the bedside, management, consulting, academia, etc. “There are so many opportunities. You can find Nurses in any field.” Esteban stated “Working with Veterans has been very rewarding. This is my opportunity to return the service they have rendered to this country. In each patient, I think of my father who is a Veteran and I hope he received the same quality care I offer to my patients”.
When Esteban told his mother he wanted to be a Nurse, he confided she was not pleased with his decision. She felt he wouldn’t be respected because he is a man and she perceived nursing as a career for women. She soon changed her mind when she saw how happy he was with his education and career. She was gratified to know he is respected for his skills and knowledge.
Overall Esteban’s experience as a male Nurse has been a very positive and rewarding one. He mentioned in the past there were a few coworkers who treated him differently than his female coworkers. Esteban was quick to point out “Treat everything and everyone with respect – your patients and coworkers – and they most often respond in kind”.
When Pat asked Esteban why he enjoys Nursing so much, he responded “For me, as a former ICU Nurse, when I saw the patient get better and finally walk out of the ICU unit, I knew I was a part of it. That is the biggest reward for me, to know that I am part of the patient’s recovery! “
Esteban does volunteer work with NAHN. Every September he helps with testing and interpreting at the Health Fair for Taxi Drivers where many of the drivers are from the Dominican Republic. When Esteban isn’t studying, volunteering or working at The VA, he enjoys travel, dance and barbecuing outside with friends.
Congratulations to you Esteban! You are a terrific example of a hard-working Nurse who loves the field he has chosen! We look forward to seeing you at this year’s NAHN Conference in Las Vegas!