In honor of Sandra Diaz, a De Anza College nursing instructor who died of COVID-19, healthcare instructors advised students to stay motivated and compassionate at the First Annual Sandra Diaz Panel on April 27.
“Some of our goals for all these series of panels that we’re hosting this year is for Latinas in (biology) and also De Anza students to be empowered, motivated, and inspired,” said Yvette Campbell, director of the STEM Success Program and the host of the panel. “Especially during the pandemic.”
Amelia Kauweloa, a clinic nurse at the De Anza Student Health Center, said students must be motivated to succeed in nursing.
“When you come to nursing school, you have to really want it,” Kauweloa said. “Because the material and the program will weed you out if you don’t.”
Nursing students must also exercise compassion, said Edward Sales, a nursing professor at De Anza.
“My biggest advice is to be kind to yourself, have lots of empathy, have integrity, and always do the right thing even when nobody’s watching.” Sales said. “The reason why we became nurses to begin with is because (to see ourselves in) the patient’s shoes.”
Adrian Espinosa, an RN and family practitioner, added that students can benefit from loan repayment programs once they leave nursing school.
“There’s a lot of programs out there if you want to work in a federally qualified health center,” Espinosa said. “If you want to commit yourself to community clinics or different populations, there are loan repayment programs.”
People also posted resource links and program suggestions in the Zoom chat.
“I want to shout out again, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses.” said Deborah Taylor, De Anza laboratory technician. “They have student memberships, so I would look them up if you’re a Latinx student.”
Estefany Chavero, 18, nursing major, said she identified with Cecilia Cruz, an RN and one of the speakers at the event.
“I really liked how she talked about her experiences when she was young and her journey to get where she was now,” Chavero said. “It really motivated me to follow in her steps working at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.”
Healthcare professionals Corina Herrera-Loera and Gerardo Loera performed a ceremonial song as an homage to Diaz.
The next virtual Health Care Providers Career Panel will be held on May 12 at 5-7 p.m.