L+M nurse motivated to make a difference
Growing up, Jorge Perez translated for his parents, who spoke Spanish and minimal English, if they needed help understanding what was going during medical appointments.
The lack of resources for Spanish-speaking people motivated him to go into healthcare and make people as comfortable as he can, whether attending to their physical comfort or putting them at ease while communicating.
Perez, 31, who is Guatemalan American and speaks both English and Spanish, is a registered nurse at the surgical center at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London.
He remembers a patient, who mostly spoke Spanish, came in for elective surgery and seemed stressed, but when Perez introduced himself in Spanish, the patient felt relief.
“We do provide a lot of care for a lot of Hispanic populations so I’m able to communicate with them as well,” said Perez.
Perez, who was born and raised in Rhode Island, started off his career in the automotive field. He then enrolled in the Community College of Rhode Island for his pre-requisites and then got his bachelors degree at Rhode Island College. He did his clinicals and was a student nurse intern at Rhode Island Hospital and then worked in the Intensive Care Unit at Westerly Hospital before transferring to L + M.
He encourages first and second generation Americans to not hesitate about pursuing a medical career and to know that there are many resources available. Perez, whose second language is English, initially hesitated at the beginning of his career and said it can be a challenge to take higher-level classes having English as second language, but “if you put the effort into it, anything is possible.”
“You’re making a difference in patients’ lives: it may be the smallest thing of being able to communicate in their own language, to helping someone get through their tough times,” Perez added. “Being in the hospital, sometimes you’re in the most vulnerable stages, so making someone feel comfortable is rewarding.”
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