Immigrant Janitor Graduates From Nursing School – And Works at the Same Hospital He Used to Clean

Inspiring Stories

Turning your dreams to reality doesn’t happen overnight. It takes long days and years of focus to become who you hope to be. Recently, one immigrant from Dominican Republic actualized his childhood dream.

Why One Young Man Became a Janitor at a Hospital

Frank Baez came to America at 14 years old. At the time, Frank didn’t speak English but he quickly learned during high school. At 17 years old, Frank got a job as a weekend custodian at NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital. He was doing all he could to help his family succeed in a new country.

Working in the hospital was the fast-paced environment that young Frank was looking for, even though it was just a role as a janitor. Eventually, Frank got a job in patient transport, taking patients to various tests and procedures. In this role, Frank was more able to interact with patients and help them. It was around this time that Frank fell in love with the medical field.

“He was always compassionate to patients and families,” said Nataly Pasklinsky, the current director of simulation learning at the NYU nursing school. “He would ask the nurses questions about patient care and what it takes to become a nurse. My colleagues and I encouraged him to follow his dream.”

While working at the hospital, Frank received a bachelor’s degree from Hunter College. He graduated in Spanish literature with a minor in biological sciences, becoming the first member of his family to graduate college.

How One Man Proved the Importance of Following Your Dreams

After college, Frank continued to work at the hospital as a unit clerk. He was able to work closely with the nurses and pick their brains. “I felt inspired by them to become a nurse, so I told them ‘I want to be a nurse like you guys,’” he said. “I was inspired by their work and everything they do for their patients.”

Frank then enrolled himself into an accelerated 15-month nursing program. He went through long, tiring days balancing work and school. His morning classes went until about 2pm, then he’d eat some lunch before his hospital shift started at 3. After work, he’d be up late doing his assignments for the next day. 

When he graduated from nursing school, Frank’s dream became reality. He got hired as a nurse in the ICU at NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital. “When I was a housekeeper, my priority was to help my mom, to help bring money to the house and to learn English,” Frank said. “Thankfully, through all of my experiences at work, I was able to discover my dream.”

Frank isn’t done yet. He’s training to become qualified as a bilingual specialist at the hospital and help Spanish speaking people get the care they need. “I was hoping that I would be able to care for patients in Spanish,” he said. “I wanted to work with under served populations.”

He also hopes to go back to school soon to receive his PHD. “Education doesn’t stop here,” he mentioned. “It’s something that has to continue to evolve. The more educated I get, the more lives I can touch and the more people I can inspire to accomplish their dreams.”

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