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MSN, Latina, Mexican Border Issues

A very hard-working Latina nurse who was born and raised along the Rio Grande River a half-hour south of El Paso, Texas, I am fully bilingual and bicultural and a very hard worker. I look to your distinguished MSN Program at the University of XXXX to guide me in becoming the most effective and compassionate Nurse Practitioner possible and how to make the most of my bilingual capacity and cultural sensitivity. Most of all, I look for further direction, awareness, and the chance to cultivate and practice my nursing sensitivities at the service of the underserved in our community, both documented and undocumented residents who are in need of medical attention. I have German, Spanish, Asian, Brazilian, and French roots and my family has lived on the outskirts of XXXX, Texas for 4 generations, in the small border town of XXXX, right across the Rio Grande River from a small town in Mexico known as XXXX, 45 minutes from the closest major medical facility. I use my Spanish everyday at my hospital. We help basically anyone who comes to us in need of assistance—from both sides of the border—so one hears almost as much Spanish as English being spoken in the corridors of my hospital.

My nursing ‘career’ began when I was ten years old and I saw a small 2 passenger plane go down near my home in the middle of the desert where there happened to be a small airport. I was outside riding my bike up and down a dirt road when I saw it happen. No sooner did I see that plane go down than I knew that I must help these people.  So I peddled as fast as my little legs could in the desert sand until I arrived at the scene of the crash and found 2 bodies among the twisted metal—one of them was alive and would go on to survive the crash. I jumped off my bike and ran to the first crash victim who was choking on his blood and turned him on his side so that he could breathe. Then, I went to try and help the next victim who was not moving or breathing and I looked for and found no pulse. This was my first encounter with death. I had no real time to think about what was happening only to react and render aide so I waited for help to come sitting beside “my first patient” who stopped choking but was in agony over his wounds. Luckily, my Mother saw the plane go down as well and was quick to summon help and direct the rescuers to the scene. There is not a day that goes by that this particular event does not resurface in my mind.

One of the things that makes me most proud to be an American, especially one born and raised on the banks of the Rio Grande River, is the way in which we do not deny care at our hospitals to those who most need that care, even if they are a poor person from another country—in this case the other side of the river—with no way to pay for their medical expenses. Of the thousands of patients that I have attended as a nurse, and the many hundreds to which I have attended primarily in Spanish, one patient in particular stands out in my mind as the personification of everything that I stand for as nursing professional. A working class woman from Mexico, she had been riddled by some type of flesh eating bacteria with pustules all over her little body, and I asked her why she had not sought medical attention sooner she told me how difficult it was to find a ride to the nearest medical facility, an all too familiar story for me which hits close to home. While we excised pieces of my patient’s skin from her legs to send to the lab to see what bacteria this was, and then medicated and re-wrapped her wounds, I explained to her in Spanish that: “We are here to take care of you and make you all better and she just welled and up and cried putting up her arms around me and holding me tight, praying, thanking the virgin. Until today, no moment has meant so much to me, except for perhaps my ‘first patient’ who I turned over on his side so that he could breathe. I thank you for your consideration of my application.

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