WACO, Texas — You could say becoming a registered nurse was destiny for Keren Aguimaga.
“I was born to be a nurse,” the Puerto Rico native said. “I was born to parents that were deeply committed to community, church, family and I was raised with a deep sense of helping others.”
She’s the daughter of a pastor and explained that growing up, she was surrounded by love and culture that was all centered around doing good by others.
It’s a similar story for osteopathic family medicine physician, Dr. Ana Crew.
While the two could walk by each other and have no idea how similar their walks of life are, Dr. Crew got her love for helping the community and medicine from her parents, her mom a dentist and her dad a nurse.
“They kind of traveled all over the world to give free medical health care, and I got to tag along and kind of see what they do,” explained the Baylor Scott and White doctor. “That really got me excited about wanting to do the same thing when I grew up.”
At just 6 years old, the young girl from Brazil experienced life and traveled to Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru helping her parents.
She began helping her mom, holding the suction hose, in the dentist’s chair.
That dream, dying quickly because at 14 she changed her life’s course and knew she wanted to go into family medicine.
However, both of these heroes have fought the odds from the very beginning.
For Keren Aguimaga, she’s a small part of less than 10% of all registered nurses that are Hispanic.
“I'm shocked but I'm not at the same time,” the AdventHealth of Central Texas nurse admitted. “I just want to know why. Why are we not in this profession?”
She also wondered if a language barrier is a major deterrent for some folks.
These questions and more are the same ones Dr. Crew is asking herself as well.
“You really are able to get to know people and make those deep relationships when you really feel comfortable talking to them and not have to talk through a computer or have to talk through a translator,” she said when thinking about the positives of being Hispanic in the healthcare industry.
While the odds were stacked up against them, Dr. Crew says, “I just feel so blessed and so thankful to be able to be a bilingual family medicine physician.”
When asked about what advice she would give aspiring people in the Hispanic community, she said to get involved.
She even offered her own serves and said anyone who wants to, can come shadow her.
Aguimaga knows the process is anything but easy, especially for those who aren’t from the United States.
“I just want to encourage them to do it. It's not easy, but it is possible,” she said. “It is possible with commitment and desire and going full force with what you want, you can do it.”
For more information on Hispanic Heritage Month, head over to the National website.