WCU Graduate Spotlight: Maria Andrade, RN

Posted on 10/10/2016

Home health was probably the last thing Maria Andrade wanted to be part of.

While enrolled at West Coast University-Ontario, Andrade wanted to be an ICU nurse. But soon after she graduated from the LVN to BSN program, Andrade's father passed away and she found herself working for the very company that had cared for him.

"It gave me the autonomy, the flexibility that, if I had some down days, I didn't have to work and then when I had better days I would work the shifts that I wanted, the hours that I wanted and see as many patients as I needed," Andrade said. "It really helped because in the acute care hospital I wouldn't be able to even continue to have those feelings because I had to perform, but with the home health I was able to see patients and then when I wasn't emotionally OK, I could take a breather and then see my next patient."

Now, less than two years after graduation, Andrade is the director of nursing at Grapevine. She's proud of her education from West Coast University and knows exactly what she's getting when she interviews WCU grads.

"I want to say I have 10 West Coast grads on staff — some that are full-time, some part-time with me," she said. "I hired them myself."

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Tell us about Grapevine Home Health

Our goal at Grapevine Home Health of course is to provide high-quality care in the in-home setting so we want to make sure that patients that are coming out of the hospital are transitioning into the home and that we can provide the education and the teaching that is required for them and the family members to enable the patients to stay at home and not have to go back and forth from the acute care hospital to the home setting. No one wants to stay in the hospital but if we can provide quality nurses to come out and provide that care and that teaching then that patient can have more autonomy and taking care of their loved one and that will then prevent the patient from having to be rushed back into the hospital.

What's your dream job?

One of my dream jobs and if anybody who met me through West Coast, I plan to become an instructor for West Coast University which you know I still have to get my master's degree but realistically for me right now this is in itself a dream. I'm able to teach nurses, I'm able to hire nurses, I'm able to mentor them which is what West Coast does. They mentor them, they guide them, they teach to get where they need to be but now I'm living my dream because I'm doing that now but for the home health setting.

What would you tell someone who is going to West Coast University?

Some advice for the students that are currently students is pretty much utilizing resources that West Coast University offers. I know that in my personality, I asked a lot of questions, I look for different opportunities and I utilize what's available to me. I know not everybody is the same way that's why when they ask me for advice — as a student — that's what I tell them. I got a scholarship through West Coast. I don't have a loan. I also was a candidate that went to Spain when the first rotation for the global public health so those are different opportunities I didn't even know that I was going to take part of. I was able to take advantage just by simply utilizing my resources and just being a good student, so it's available to everyone.

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