Claudia Garcia is on track to graduate with her bachelor of science in nursing degree in April 2022, and she’s not letting anything stop her dream of becoming a nurse. The West Coast University-Miami nursing student immigrated to the United States from Cuba when she was 15, and has been working hard since she arrived to fulfill her dreams.
“When I first arrived here, I spoke very little, basic English, but I decided that I could do anything I put my mind to,” Claudia shared. “Yes, I had to work hard for it but little by little I got there and within a year and a half I was in the non-ESL classes.”
After high school, Claudia attended Miami-Dade College which was close to her home, while she was deciding which career path she wanted to take.
“My aunt is a nurse and works 12-hour shifts and I was really impressed with how she would help people, heal people so I decided during my pre-requisite classes that I wanted to become a nurse too,” she said.
After looking into colleges, Claudia met with an advisor for WCU-Miami and after the tour, decided that it was the right fit for her.
“I was so impressed. West Coast is really beautiful, the simulation lab was amazing to me, the classes are small and it felt like a family, it felt right, like they really focus on you, so I told my aunt I’m going to stay here I don’t want to see anywhere else,” Claudia said.
As Claudia prepares to take her clinical courses, she said she’s interested in labor and delivery and mother-baby units and is thinking about pursuing her nurse practitioner degree down the line.
“I want to explore and see what path I like and want to feel really good about where I am working,” she said. “Last week I went to West Coast’s simulation center and feels so much better having your hands-on training and not just in the book, so I’m really excited.”
After working hard over the past year in the BSN program, Claudia’s advice to incoming students is to stay organized, ensure you have a support system and to not be scared.
“Just go for it, if it’s something you want, then go for it and work for it,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone until I came to class and it’s important to have someone to be connected to, relate to, people that understand what you’re going through.”