When Frank Baez came to the United States with his family as a young teen, he said he took a job in housekeeping at New York University’s Langone Tisch Hospital to help provide for his family. And on Monday, Baez graduated from that same university with a nursing degree, having been inspired by the patients and nurses he met while working.
“I could barely speak English at the time when I started working at NYU,” he told ABC News. “Now I reflect on it and I feel very proud of how much I accomplished.”
Baez first graduated from Hunter College with a bachelor’s degree before enrolling in an accelerated program at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. He graduated with a 3.6 GPA in just 15 months, ABC News reported.
“I was never an A student. I just studied a lot and worked a lot,” he told the news outlet. “Of course there were times I doubted myself, but then I felt that I wanted to do something more for myself, that I deserved better, that I wanted to continue to move forward and grow and go on with my life. What I did was, I never gave up.”
Baez, who was promoted from janitor to patient transporter where he first got a taste of the medical world, said watching the nurses at NYU advocate for their patients was what made him want to pursue the career.
“I was inspired to follow their lead and that’s why I wanted to be a nurse,” he told Fox 10 Phoenix.
Baez has already begun working toward a master’s degree, which he hopes will help him become an acute care nurse practitioner.
“Never give up on your dreams,” he told the outlet.