Sometimes the best people and missions come from difficult or challenging circumstances. Consider Sandra Peraza and the origins of her exceptional bilingual nursing care.
Sandra’s mother was just 16 when she gave birth to her. The conditions of her birth – a teen Latina mom, unable to speak or understand English – brought challenges and unfortunate judgment from caregivers. Sadly, her mother was met with assumptions, impatience, and rudeness instead of the kindness and reassurance a scared young mother needs.
Hearing of her mother’s negative experience is what prompted Sandra to become a nurse and drives her mission today. It’s why she answered the call to care.
“Hearing her story broke my heart and it still affects me to this day,” Sandra explained in a recent interview. “When my mom explained to me what she went through, I realized what I wanted to do in my life. I wanted to be a nurse. Most importantly, I wanted to be a bilingual nurse that could help Spanish speaking parents.”
Today, Sandra is a Labor and Delivery RN, and is a working mother with children of her own. “I always thought I would do Emergency Room medicine. I loved the adrenaline. But when I was going through nursing school, I worked at an OBGY office and fell in love with maternal care. After I graduated with my RN degree, I was lucky enough to be hired at a hospital in their L&D unit. I love it.”
Traveling Back to Home
Sandra chose to make the leap to travel nursing in October 2020, through a connection with her recruiter Jenny and an assignment she loves in Salinas, California. “We were living in Ohio, and I’m originally from California. We wanted to get back there to be closer to my family. So, I decided to look into travel nursing to get to know the local hospitals.”
Sandra quickly realized the travel nurse search can be a bit overwhelming, but she found the connection she needed with Jenny at Medical Solutions. “Jenny was just so funny and caring and honest,” she said. “She gave me time and space and understood that I was a working mom. She always works with me and fights for me. It means a lot.”
During her time back in California, she’s renewed her assignment with that hospital several times. “I love it there. They’re an amazing group of women in the unit,” she said.
Sí, Hablo Español
Sandra deliberately helps her fellow nurses and clinicians overcome the language barrier with some patients.
“I pride myself in always being willing to translate for other nurses, no matter how busy I am,” she explained. “I even request certain patient assignments just because the parent’s first language is Spanish.”
Caring and Community
It may not be as direct as giving medication or performing a procedure, but relating to and helping a patient in their first language certainly impacts patient care. Sandra sees it daily.
“Seeing the relief on my patient’s face when I come into their room and speak Spanish with them honestly makes up for the challenges that I sometimes have to overcome to provide excellent patient care,” she said. “It always makes me feel good knowing their experience is better.”
There’s something larger that drives Sandra; a connection to her patients, her fellow nurses, and the Latino community.
“I became a nurse to be able to give back to my community,” she said. “I want each of my patients to feel that I truly care for them and want them to feel heard and validated while I am caring for them.”