University of St. Thomas nursing student Amalia Torres is a long way from her native Colombia. After leaving her home country to pursue a career in journalism, her life has taken a few turns, and has led her to the field of nursing.
Torres pursued a career in journalism to help the Hispanic community in Houston. During her seven years serving as a reporter for the Spanish television news program, KXLN Univision Houston, she learned the needs of the community and found herself called to serve in another way. However, it was not until later when she realized she should pursue nursing as a career.
“I discovered my vocation for nursing through my mother’s illness,” Torres said. “She suffered a stroke and 75 percent of her body was paralyzed, but I was there for her physically and emotionally. After she died, I discovered that I wanted to continue doing that for others.”
View a video of Torres in the UST Nursing Simulation Lab
While caring for her mother, Torres learned about compassion, suffering and patience.
Torres, who was raised Catholic, believes the best way to care for someone involves, not only a physical care, but a spiritual care as well. When she began searching for nursing programs, she wanted one that would cater to the whole human person: body, mind and spirit. The holistic nursing approach touted by UST was a natural fit, as it teaches nurses to care not only for the patient’s physical needs, but for their mental and spiritual needs as well.
She said the spiritual guidance, along with the practical skills taught in the nursing lab, have been instrumental in her growth within the program.
“Here, we have spiritual guidance, great mentors, a state-of-the-art nursing lab and friendships that will last for life,” Torres said. “That is what helps us become great professionals.”
Torres found the Hispanic community often lacks necessary medical and health knowledge, so as a nurse, Torres feels inspired to work in geriatrics or a family practice and emphasize the importance of preventative medicine. She believes her role as a nurse is to be an educator and teach those in the community how to better care for themselves.
“I became a journalist because I wanted to help people,” Torres said. “Now that I am becoming a nurse, I am also able to make a difference in people’s lives.”