A former university janitor from New York has completed his university degree at the college he used to clean.
Frankie Baez moved to New York as a teenager from the Dominican Republic with his mother. Baez quickly got a job at NYU cleaning patient rooms, bathrooms, and hallways so he could help to financially support his family.
Though years later, at 29, he has graduated with a nursing degree from the same university.
I could barely speak English at the time when I started working at NYU.
Now I reflect on it and I feel very proud of how much I accomplished.
While working [at NYU] with the nurses, I realized I wanted to be one of them. I learned how much they advocate for their patients and the passion they have for their job.
Natalya Pasklinsky, director of simulation learning at the college of nursing, was a nurse when Baez was a janitor. Even all those years ago, she noticed how great he was with patients.
Our program is extremely rigorous. Frank didn’t just kind of make the program, barely getting through. He flew through it with flying colours. The way he interacted with patients, to me showed a lot of compassion. In my mind, he’s a star. I think he's going to be a fantastic nurse.
Now he’s trained as a nurse, he's got his sights set on becoming a critical care nurse at an intensive care unit.
I was never an A student. I just studied a lot and worked a lot.
Of course there were times I doubted myself, but then I felt that I wanted to do something more for myself, that I deserved better, that I wanted to continue to move forward and grow and go on with my life.