I'm a Latina RN and I'm Starting a Movement
I knew once I became an RN I wanted to inspire and encourage other young mothers, other Latinxs, anyone who feels as though they can’t reach their goals, to get out there and beat the odds.
With 2.86 million registered nurses in the United States, it’s hard to imagine what 4.8% of that number looks like. But, broken down, it looks like this: 134,000. 134,000. That’s the number of registered nurses in the United States that identify themselves as Hispanic or Latinx, according to Minority Nurse Magazine. And with the Latinx community being one of the fastest growing minority groups in the world, it is imperative that this number grows. Especially since the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that there will be a 15% increase in the demand for nurses from 2016 to 2026 (much faster than the average for all occupations) in the future. Latinx nurses must educate our youth on furthering their education and entering the nursing field. By prompting and mentoring our youth into nursing, our community will take part in helping to create the best nurses for patients and simultaneously increase that 4.8% statistic.
A growth in diversity in the nursing field provides better care and ensures proper advocacy, as diverse nurses are vital for caring for our minority patients since they can better relate to these patients. Organizations who promote aiding minorities into the healthcare field are a great place to start when considering a career in healthcare, like Scrub Life Dreaming. This non-profit organization’s mission is to influence and guide the next generation of medical professionals; especially those who come from underprivileged communities.
I knew nursing was something I wanted to do since I was 12 years of age. Having a younger brother who was ill with cancer and being in and out of the hospital with him gave me the opportunity to see first-hand the job of a nurse. After graduating high school, I knew I needed to go to college, but did not know the right steps to take. So, at the age of 19, and with a lack of knowledge, I ended up going to a for profit school. I spent way too much money on receiving my Vocational Nurse License, only to then find out none of those classes transferred to a Registered Nurse (or RN) program. Eventually, I met with a counselor at my local community college and was given a hand-out with all the classes I needed to take in order to be qualified to apply to an RN program. Honestly, I contemplated giving up.
At this point, I was 21 years old with 2 kids, a husband, and feeling as if I would never make it. I thought, “There are so many classes I need to take, and what if I don’t even get accepted to an RN program?!” But, I looked at my family, and knew I had to get it done—no matter how long it took. I wrote down my goals, I made schedules that ensured enough study and homework time, as well as time for my family. During school, I was lucky enough to have a full-time job who really worked with my school schedule, and from there I started chipping away at the classes one at a time. Fast forward 5 years, I was graduating with my Associate degree in nursing, reciting a speech at my pinning ceremony in front of hundreds of people explaining my gratitude to be able to stand there finally finished with nursing school.
My journey to becoming a registered nurse was nowhere near easy, but the pride I feel, still today, to be able to say “I did it!” is indescribable. Statistically, I shouldn’t have made it: Hispanic, a pregnant teen, married, needing to work full-time while in school. I knew once I became an RN I wanted to inspire and encourage other young mothers, other Latinxs, anyone who feels as though they can’t reach their goals, to get out there and beat the odds. My hope is for anyone reading my story to think to themselves, “If she can do it, so can I.” And it’s true. Where there is a will, there is a way. With hard work and dedication anyone can do anything—which led me to create Latina, RN or #LatinaRN--a movement to inspire and support Latinxs to pursue a career in nursing—complete with signature t-shirts! As nurses we sign our name comma RN, and being a Latina is as permanent as writing your name, so why not wear it proud on your chest? Through social media, I encourage Latinx RNs to to post pictures and explain why they’re proud to be a Latina, RN. It’s a great reminder of where we come from and how hard we have work as Latinxs to get here.
WRITTEN BY MARTHA SALMON
IMAGES COURTESY OF MARTHA SALMON
About the Writer
Martha Salmon is a Pediatric Transplant nurse who has been in the field for eight years. She is currently going to school for her Master’s in Nursing. Martha is married with two kids.
Follow Martha on Instagram here.