Growing up, Alexandra Fernandez could always go to her mother if she had a question. She might not get the advice she wanted, but her mom would always listen.
“When you're little, you go to your parents for help like, ‘Hey, how do I solve this? What do I do?' And it's kind of like my mom is the type of person that instead of telling me ‘This is what you should do’ or ‘Maybe think of it like this,’” Fernandez said. “She never gave me an answer to anything and it was the most frustrating thing.”
While she didn't like it then, Fernandez is now glad her mom was so tight-lipped. It forced Fernandez to think for herself, seek answers from multiple sources, and — most importantly — stick up for herself when she came to a conclusion.
“Now being older, what I realized that she did was she gave me confidence,” the West Coast University-Miami graduate said. “She gave me the confidence to have the leadership skills to make decisions and to be assertive and to back up my decisions.”
Why do you want to be a nurse?
In my family, my aunt was someone who always kind of pushed the medical field on me. Maybe not so much nursing, but just medicine in general. And then my mom got really sick. She has severe back issues. She's had two spinal laminectomies and a spinal fusion and that kind of inspired me to want to be a nurse. I saw how the nurses treated her I saw how the nurses were there for her and I wanted to impact somebody's life like that.
So you wanted to help someone like the nurses helped your mother?
I want to be the best that I could possibly be because I want to serve someone — at least one person. If I can do for one person what the nurses did for my mom then I'd feel accomplished.
How much did your cohort help during your time at WCU?
In this area of nursing — and just in general being a student — if you don't have your classmates, you don't have anything. It's difficult to do this by yourself. It's a journey and I had a professor who always told me that I could be a leader, but you're nobody if you don't have support and if you don't have reinforcements to push you up. That was an impactful moment for me too because it took a lot for me to realize that this isn't something I can do by myself and I need help.
What advice do you have for students in nursing school now?
Always further your education, because education is going to help you grow in the hospital, in your community, wherever the case may be. And always remember that at the end of the day your patients are sick and your day affects their day, and as miserable of a day as they're having, just a smile makes them feel better.