Established in 2018 with a $1.9 million grant from the Health Resource and Services Administration (HRSA), the University of Arizona College of Nursing’s Arizona Nursing Inclusive Excellence (ANIE) program has become a crown jewel of the College’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
Full-time, pre-professional nursing, Bachelor of Science in nursing and doctoral students who are Native American, Hispanic/Latino, first-generation college attendees or from a rural or U.S.-Mexico border community may qualify to become ANIE scholars. As scholars, they gain access to financial support and academic enrichment services, such as mentoring, coaching, individual and group tutoring, professional skills development and peer networking.
One of the program’s most valuable resources is its annual ANIE Summer Intensives, which are required for first-year, first-semester Pre-Professional Nursing students already enrolled at the UA and first and third-semester students in the BSN program.
We recently caught up with ANIE pre-nursing scholar Julian Grijalva to hear about his experiences in the Summer Intensive and where he hopes to go from here.
A native Tucsonan, Grijalva went to Sunnyside High School. Growing up, he was inspired by the examples of the nurses that cared for his parents when they required hospital care. “Seeing nurses take care of my parents helped me develop an appreciation for them,” he says, noting that this admiration inspired him to want to give back to his community the way those nurses supported his parents. Currently a UArizona pre-nursing student with a minor in public health, Grijalva is taking part in this year’s ANIE Summer Intensive to better prepare him for his future nursing studies.
What inspired your interest in nursing?
I have a lot of experience in hospital environments, which helped me develop a passion for caring for others. When my mother gets out of the hospital, she needs care at home, so I’ve developed a passion for caring for her. But whether it’s my mother or anyone else, I’ll still treat them the same, because it’s always been a love for me to help people and care for others.
Tell us about your experience serving vulnerable populations in the form of fostering infants and children?
My mother has been a foster parent for about 18 years. Since I was born, she’s always gotten new kids, particularly ones whose mother’s abused drugs during pregnancy. They often had issues with breathing and other problems. It’s sad to see, but over time you develop an appreciation for doing something really good for them. Even though we don’t keep the baby, we do make an impact. We feel like we’ve done enough for them to live a healthy life.
Tell us about your experience in the ANIE Summer Intensive.
In the program, we learn what students would learn in their first semester of nursing school. We get a little brief overview, and we volunteer in specific clinical sites to prepare ourselves and learn skills we can use while we’re in there. I also am retaking some courses right now to freshen up on some skills before I hopefully get accepted into the BSN program.
What attracted you to UArizona Nursing?
The first thing is, it’s in my area. I love Tucson and I want to be here my whole life. Secondly, I’ve always dreamed of attending the University of Arizona and I’ve always heard amazing things about the nursing program.
How did you get involved in the ANIE program?
It was through student-run club called Professional Achievements in Nursing (PAIN) that helps pre-nursing students learn more about the program. They had a presentation about ANIE and one of the things that attracted me was the way they provide diversity and inclusion for people you don’t usually find in nursing school. That’s really nice because it’s hard to do school when there aren’t people who look like you or who don’t have the same background as you.
How’s the experience going?
It’s amazing. It’s definitely a summer intensive, but it’s really nice getting involved with other students. I love getting information from inside the nursing program. We’re not only learning about what they’re going to expect, but also about the clinical experience. It’s been a big blessing for me, because I was in a Certified Nursing Assistant program during COVID, so we didn’t get to go out do clinicals. ANIE gives me the opportunity to experience the clinicals that I missed.
What are your hopes for the future?
I want to work as a registered nurse, but after that I want to give back to my community as much as I can because they’re the ones that helped me become the person that I am today. I have to give a part of me because I wouldn’t be here without that support system. I live in a low-income area where people I went to school with don’t really think about going to college. I want to get involved with that type of community and tell them ‘College might be tough but it’s definitely something you should experience.’ I also want to get involved with the health care system in a low-tech, low-income area where people may not be able to afford insurance, or areas where they might not be supported in health.