"When Katrina hit in 2005, I felt like I was not very useful to our society. Up until that point I had only had experience in customer service. I felt called to do more.
I had never thought about a career in the medical field before, but I knew I had a strong aptitude for compassion and empathy.
As a second generation Puerto Rican, and the first generation to attend college, I had doubts about my abilities.
But, I was positive my heart was in this profession.
In 2010, I gathered the courage to go to college and try nursing and I earned my
degree from Middlesex Community College. MCC has a few fellowships each semester and I was blessed to see that there was an opportunity to do work rebuilding homes in New Orleans. This was not part of my nursing training, but I knew I had to go.
I have always known that I wanted to serve my community, so I started my career as a nurse in the Adult Medicine Department of Lowell CHC. Like so many people, I have watched close friends and family members suffer with Substance Use Disorder. I saw how the OBAT (Office Based Addiction Treatment) department welcomed their patients and advocated for their needs. I knew I could do that work - I wanted to do that work. So, I asked to join the team.
I love that our work in OBAT is encouraging clients to take charge of their health. We educate, collaborate, and have an active role in helping them reach their goals.
COVID-19 has created obstacles. I was surprised that so many clients were initially worried about what would happen to the OBAT Program. We managed those anxieties by staying open and available to help them maintain sobriety.
I do believe that not a lot has changed with regard to our approach. It's important to show compassion, smile even if over the phone, be an active listener, and encourage clients to keep up the good work.
We have built such a strong rapport with the majority of our clients. I believe they can imagine our faces and feel comfortable sharing their feelings and experiences.
I have been nursing for almost six years and I am even more passionate today than ever! COVID 19 has nothing on us, because we continue to work together as a team, even if we are apart. I cannot express how very proud I am of Lowell Community Health Center and our commitment to our community!"