Arizona Nursing Student Ana Bustamante Discusses Border Living, Health Equity and the Importance of Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept. 13, 2021

Born and raised in Nogales, Ariz., Ana Bustamante’s world view was shaped by the unique experience of essentially growing up in two different countries. “It’s normal for people from Nogales, Arizona to go to Nogales, Sonora to eat or visit family during the day and cross the border back to Arizona later,” she says. “Since it is a very small town everyone pretty much knows each other in some way.” Since moving to Tucson three years ago to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the University of Arizona College of Nursing, Bustamante has enjoyed the benefits of city life. “It’s also been nice that Tucson is not too far away as I am a very family-oriented person and love to visit my family every so often,” she says.

As a student nurse, Bustamante has gained experience working in a hospital under the supervision of a registered nurse as well as her professors. “Learning to be a nurse during the pandemic has been unique, but in a way, I think it makes me more prepared,” she says. “We have had to be taking extra precautions, taking extra care of ourselves and our patients, whether it be with the proper protection equipment or with mental health care.”

It is important for patients to see health care providers from their own communities because, being members of the same community, providers will relate to their patients in ways that an outside provider cannot," ~ Ana Bustamante, UArizona Nursing BSN Student

What led you to the University of Arizona?

Higher education was always the plan for me. I just always had a passion to do something more with myself while also giving back to others. At first nursing was just an idea, a maybe, but halfway into the nursing program I know I am pursuing the right career path for myself.

Why did you choose UArizona Nursing to pursue your BSN?

I chose this college because of its credibility and the opportunities that I was offered. I had always heard great things about the UArizona nursing program and of the successful nurses that came from it, so naturally I was inspired to become one of those graduated successful nurses someday. One more year and I will be. Additionally, programs such as Arizona Nursing Inclusive Excellence (ANIE) have helped me so much as a student and person.

As a student, who have your biggest role models been?

My biggest role models have been my older cousin Marcela who is a registered nurse, and my mom. Before I decided to study nursing, my older cousin would tell me about her job and experience as a registered nurse. The way she talked about it was inspiring, especially her journey to get there. It was a tough journey for her to make it into and through nursing school. She was faced with adversities and doubt, but in the end came out stronger than ever. Her persistence and determination encourage me to continue trying and believing in myself, that I am exactly where I am meant to be and that I will be the best version of myself. Similarly, my mom faced many challenges on her journey to become the director of engineering she is today. There were ups and downs and setbacks, but one thing she always taught me is to stick through the hard parts, because nothing worth having comes easy. Not only that, but to enjoy the journey and not get too focused on the end goal. My mom has taught me to stay in the fight and appreciate where I am and take time for myself at the same time.

How important it is for patients to see themselves in their healthcare providers and as members of their communities?

It is important for patients to see health care providers from their own communities because, being members of the same community, providers will relate to their patients in ways that an outside provider cannot. They will be more aware of what resources are nearby, what obstacles may exist, and they will be ready to treat the demographic that lives in that area. As a whole, I think it will also be easier to earn the patient’s trust if the provider is from their same community, because they will be more understanding and aware of their situation. The better the patient-provider relationship, the better the care and outcome.

What does it mean to you to be a Wildcat Nurse?

To me, being a Wildcat Nurse means acting with the care, professionalism, and diligence that I was taught and want to represent. I am confident I am being taught the best practices, and I want to reflect that in my own work. I want to live up to the reputation that Wildcat Nurses are successful, and above all, patient centered.

What is the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month to you?

Hispanic Heritage Month is important to me as it reminds me of how grateful I am to be Hispanic, and that it really is something to be proud of. I would never want someone to be ashamed of their background or culture for it being different than those around them or be embarrassed of who they are. Hispanic Heritage Month reminds me to fully embrace my culture and history and reach out to encourage others to do the same.

What are your plans for the future?

After graduating with my BSN degree and passing the NCLEX to officially be a registered nurse, I plan to participate in a nurse residency program. I am currently planning on applying to different hospitals, both in and out of state, so depending on where I am accepted and feel is most right for me, is where I will go. At the moment, I think I would like to work in the NICU or somewhere in pediatrics as a registered nurse. Then, as I mentioned before, after working for at least a couple of years, I will apply to a DNP program, and hopefully end up with a Doctorate in Nursing Practice as either a women’s health or family nurse practitioner. I also think that, somewhere on that path, I will eventually come back to Arizona and settle down here to be close to my family.