School of Nursing

Full circle: A nursing student gives back

Araya Hope Garcia, Bachelor’s with a major in Nursing class of 2020, Monmouth Campus

Araya's mother and father visiting her in the NICU
Araya's mother and father visiting her in the NICU

Araya (a-RAY-a) Hope Garcia had an abrupt start to her life when she was born prematurely at 24 weeks old in the late 90’s. Back then, she was lucky to receive top notch care at Doernbecher hospital in the NICU. Scientific advancement made it possible for Araya to thrive though she spent two months in the NICU on ventilation machines and other helpful tools to keep her meeting her early milestones.

The stories about her birth and the days that followed were passed down to her by her parents. In fact, a local newspaper covered their story back in the 90’s. Araya’s birth story is a piece of her journey to nursing school, but it isn’t the whole picture. She said, “I wanted to go into education before I thought about nursing. I just didn’t feel like I could be a nurse.” She had many nurses surrounding her in her life, her mother, a public health nurse today, was one of them.

White coat ceremony
Araya with her mom at the white coat ceremony for new nursing students.

Eventually, Araya worked at a surgery center but didn’t do medical related things. However, being in the environment and being around patients appealed to her. That’s when she started thinking more seriously about nursing as a career.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” she said. The more time she spent in her classes the more she realized she wanted to work in the NICU or pediatrics where she started out in life.

Her approach to patient care is simple. She said, “I take care of a patient as an individual and holistically to give them the care they need specifically – knowing first-hand the importance of what a nurse holds in someone life – whether it is days or hours – knowing that I can carry a role in the legacy of each patient I care for.” She credits her strong faith in God and her supportive family for helping her through each season of nursing school and her every day.

Araya is set to graduate in June 2020. This year, graduation looks different given our current situation. All of our events will be held online. She said, “During this pandemic, my job is to stay home and finish out this nursing program strong. We are living in a time where nurses are needed. I am going to do my best to prepare myself for my NCLEX exam and entering the workforce.”

International year of the nurse and midwife