For Maria Garnica, BSN, RN, Hispanic Heritage Month is a way to share her culture with other people unfamiliar with or who have misconceptions of the Mexican-American community.
“I think there are a lot of misconceptions in the world about different cultures, including cultures within the Hispanic community,” she said. “What I want everyone to know is that the world will only have peace and tolerance when we choose to educate ourselves and love each other.”
Garnica works at University Hospitals Elyria Medical Center as a Med/Surg Tele Nurse and at University Hospitals Cleveland Main Campus as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
With dreams of becoming a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife, Garnica, who earned her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of Michigan, chose CWRU because the master’s program design enabled her to achieve both goals. In addition to her master’s, Garnica has also begun coursework toward a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at CWRU with a focus in education.
As a nurse, Garnica said her goal is to empower and support her patients in a way that leaves them fulfilled.
“Women’s health is a passion of mine. With my own background of trauma, I felt that I could be a resource for other women to overcome their own struggles to meet their health goals in a safe space,” she said. “Trauma-informed care is something we desperately need in the healthcare setting.”
In addition to her work and studies, Garnica has been working with the university’s Office of Resiliency and the COVID-19 response and outreach activities.
“Educating people on the COVID-19 vaccines available has been incredibly important to me,” she said. “I hope that I’ve been able to answer a lot of questions and resolve any doubt for the people I’ve connected with.”
Garnica said she is proud to be able to represent and assist the Hispanic population as a Mexican-American member of the nursing community.
“Food and dance are both incredibly important to me and my culture. My schedule is so busy that I may randomly dance in my living room to relieve stress,” she said. “With little time to cook, my aunt is always sure to let me know when she’s making tamales to share. It makes me feel loved, and I think that’s a common way that we spread love in our culture.”