It was a humble beginning for Frank Baez, who as a teenager began working as a janitor, at New York University’s Langone Tisch Hospital, cleaning patient rooms, bathrooms and hallways.
But recently, Baez, 29, graduated with a nursing degree from the university where he worked as a janitor.
Baez said that when he began working at NYU, he could hardly speak English at the time. He moved to New York from the Dominican Republic with his mom at age 15, he feels proud of his achievement.
Baez started working in housekeeping at the hospital as he needed a job to take care of his family.
While working at the hospital, he became interested in the medical field and applied and got the job of a patient transporter, taking patients to and from their rooms for surgery and tests.
He then left the job to complete his bachelor’s degree at the Hunter College, becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college.
In his heart he knew he always wanted to return to NYU. He realized this when he was working with the nurses, and wanted to be part of them, he said.
He was motivated by their passion for the job and how much they advocated for their patients.
Baez was encouraged by the nurses he worked with to apply to NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing.
He joined the program that allowed him to graduate with a nursing degree in just 15 months.
“Our program is extremely rigorous,” said Natalya Pasklinsky, director of simulation learning at the college of nursing. “Frank didn’t just kind of make the program, barely getting through. He flew through it with flying colors.”
Pasklinsky was working as a nurse in the same unit when Baez worked as a janitor while in high school, she saw him be promoted to patient transporter and remembers how caring he was to the patients.
“The way he interacted with patients, to me showed a lot of compassion,” she said. “In my mind, he’s a star. I think he’s going to be a fantastic nurse.”
Baez, graduated with a 3.6 GPA, and already wants to be a critical care nurse in an intensive care unit.
He said, that he was never an A student, but studied and worked hard, at times he doubted himself, but he wanted to do something for himself, he knew he deserved better and wanted to move forward and go on with his life.
Baez said, no matter what he never gave up on his dreams.