Nursing Graduate from North Camden the First in Her Family to Attend College

Yahoska Morales is committed to working with Spanish-speaking patients. She plans to work in a hospital emergency room or trauma unit after graduation.

When Yahoska Morales walks across the stage to receive her bachelor of science degree from the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, it will be a landmark moment not just for her, but for her entire family. “I was the first person in my family to go to college,” she said. “I’m excited, and my parents are ecstatic.”

Morales’ parents emigrated to the United States from Nicaragua in the 1980s, and she was born in 1994 and lived all her life in North Camden. She began her studies at Rutgers–Camden after earning an associate’s degree from Camden County College. The combination of hands-on skills lab work and clinical trials she completed in her junior and senior years cemented her decision for her career. “I’ve learned so much,” she says. “I know for sure that the nursing is the field for me.”

A clinical trial Morales completed in the Trauma Step-Down Unit at Cooper University Hospital in Camden in the spring 2019 semester ignited a passion to work in a fast-paced ER or trauma unit. “That was when I knew that trauma was exactly where I wanted to be,” she says. “You always have to be on your toes. You don’t know what’s going to come inside those doors.”

Morales took the Spanish for Health Professions course developed as part of a collaborative effort between the School of Nursing and the Department of World Languages and Cultures, which led to an internship in fall 2018 with VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services in Camden that allowed her to serve Spanish-speaking patients.The number of Spanish speakers in America will continue to grow, and I’m pleased to be a part of the university’s award-winning effort to ensure they can receive health care from someone who can communicate with them in their native language,” she says, referencing the 2018 American Association of Colleges of Nursing Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award that the Rutgers–Camden Spanish for the Health Professions program received. “It felt good to be doing work in my hometown, helping Spanish speakers get the most out of the health care system.”

After the School of Nursing Commencement on May 22, Morales plans to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX) in the summer and hopes to start working as a nurse soon after. Her younger sister, Tatiana, is a student at Rutgers–Camden, studying health sciences. “I am proud to be a mentor for my sister and know that she will follow in my footsteps,” she says. “Many people think that if you live in Camden, you don’t have opportunity. They don’t think that people in Camden turn out to be something. I feel like we are doing the complete opposite, and proving them wrong.”

For more about Morales, read the article she wrote about her experience with diversity at the university for the Rutgers–Camden Magazine story “Embracing our World: Rutgers–Camden Students Speak Out about Diversity.”


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