I Was Meant to be a Nurse

All roads led to Roswell Park
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 3:25pm
Pediatrics Department, RPCI

As a teenager, I had my heart set on joining the Peace Corps. I grew up in the U.S. Virgin Islands and met people from all walks of life who inspired me to give back. I wanted to travel the world and help those in need.

I applied to the program right after high school and was accepted to a mission in the Panama Canal. When my father heard the news, he was anything but happy. He hoped I would follow in my sister’s footsteps and become an RN. He encouraged me to focus my philanthropic ambitions on a nursing career in the U.S.

Unwilling to disappoint my father, I declined my offer with the Peace Corps and moved to Buffalo, NY to attend the UB School of Nursing. My brother was already living in Buffalo so the transition was quite easy.

Shortly after completing my boards, I accepted a position at Roswell Park in the Pediatrics Department. I knew immediately that I had made the right decision. I fell in love with Buffalo and RPCI.

In my 32 years as an RN, I’ve found so much joy and satisfaction in every moment of my career. I’ve watched so many of my pediatric patients grow into healthy adults with families of their own. I’ve witnessed the healing power of hope and positivity. And I’ve felt the strength and courage of family — especially during my dad’s battle with cancer.

Ten years ago, my father was given only six months to live after a diagnosis of stage IV head & neck cancer. I brought my father to Roswell Park from the Virgin Islands so he could get the best possible care. Dr. Hicks was amazing and gave us more time with him then we ever thought possible. It was eventually diabetes that took my father's life. Not cancer.

I am so grateful to my father for encouraging me to become a nurse. It’s because of him that I’ve had such a fulfilling career. I truly believe I was meant to be a nurse and to work at Roswell Park. 

I was nominated for the DAISY award by a special little girl who I called "my sunshine." She reminds me why I love nursing so much. During every appointment, no matter how grueling, she was always so positive and full of energy. She has left an impact on my career and my life, and I am honored to care for such wonderful patients like her.