From la pisca, manual labor to a successful PhD in Nurse Practice, Beatriz Bautista is an exemplary role model, not just for Latinas, but to all women.
Can you tell us more about your background?
I’m from Edinburg, TX but spent most of my childhood in Idaho. My grandparents came to this country thanks to the Bracero Movement, and I grew up with them picking seasonal crops, such as onions, apples and cherries.
What was your childhood like?
(smiles while reminiscing) I remember at 16 years old, besides going to school, I was driving those big trucks that have all of the apples and crops.
Having no background in the medical field, what made you choose this career?
Yes, I am a first generation student and I had no idea what I wanted to be. I wanted to help sick people. I was hungry for knowledge. I came to understand and told myself if you want something you have to work for it.
My tia, she is a LVN, licensed vocational nurse, and worked as a public health nurse. She also did medical translations; she was one of the few Latinas in the medical field in Idaho that spoke Spanish. I appreciated how solicited she was, being bilingual made her worth for 2.
Has being latina and a woman ever been an obstacle for you?
For me being a latina is something you wear proud, you have the gift of diversity. Knowing two languages makes you worth for 2. Latinas are known for loyalty and their charisma, as well as nurturing and sensitive individuals, once you know how to appreciate your culture it should make you fearless and stoppable.
Do you have any advice for young girls who are interested in the medical field?
Work on your GPA, if you have good grades a lot of doors will open, not to mention the endless opportunities that are available; scholarships, work-study. If you struggle with science, biology and math, my suggestion is to get tom know your teacher better. They are there to help you, especially if you show an interest or curiosity for the medical field.
There are also programs that offer help and guidance in the field, such as HOSA and Med-Ed, you can also volunteer at a hospital.
Hispanic parents, especially if you are a first generation student like myself, may not value education as much and want their kids to be working right away. I tell you, YOU CAN DO BOTH! Through out my education I was always working, I paid for my studies; there was a point in my life where I was 3 professions: a nurse, a student and a mother. Don’t loose focus, and you will find success. A lot of Latinas come from households where the parents do not understand how important an education is.
Do you have a personal story or anecdote that you would like to share with our readers?
When I was accepted in University, I was afraid. I felt a lot of responsibility, being the first person in my family to go to University. My grandfather has always believed in me, which also made me nervous and afraid to fail and let him down. But at the same time it made me stronger and fearless. I needed to prove myself that I could do it. After I got my first A in college, everything else seemed to make sense and I started getting more and more As. I think it helped that I was always hungry for knowledge; I was passionate about what I was doing.
You have been awarded Nurse Practitioner of the Year and now hold a PhD, what is next?
I want to get my Menopause Certification, NCMP, specialize in this hormonal change that a lot of Latinas and just women in general do not understand. I want to be there for them during these hard times, and help them understand what they are going through and get through it better.
Dr.Bettyis available for mentoring and to answer any questions you may have on the field.
Please contact the author to get in touch with Dr.Bautista.