Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Anna Vasquez, RN

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local NewsDuring the height of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we became increasingly aware of the incredible contributions nurses have made to save lives, advance health equity, and protect communities across the county. This Hispanic Heritage Month celebration we honor the leadership and commitment to nurses across Chicago who have remained on the frontlines to ensure a safe and healthy community. This week we focus our attention to Anna Vasquez, RN, with Lawndale Health Christian Center, who joined the grassroots health organization two years.

Passion for Nursing
Medicine has always been a passion of mine, but I got into nursing in, sort of, a roundabout way. [Laughs] Out of college I thought I would go right into the hospital field. However, I applied to join the Peace Corps where I was transferred to work in Nicaragua for a year. That opportunity opened my eyes, being able to work with people in such a personal way, seeing the difference we were making convinced me to go into nursing. Also, being exposed to a different culture, a different country…the family that I stayed with were so welcoming and wonderful. Nicaragua was an amazing experience and inspired me to go into nursing.

Uncertain Times
Working in a Latino community and living in Little Village, there is a sense of family here. When the lockdown happened, when the peak of the pandemic occurred there were certainly so many unanswered questions. We studied and researched as much as we could to inform our community and equip them with the right information. What we learned during that time is how resilient we are and how our community can come together.

You know, I see the signs “Heroes Work Here,” and even though it’s wonderful to see, to me, it just feels like we are doing our job. We continue to do our job because that’s who we are.

Hispanic Heritage Month
The Latino community is one of family and vibrancy. The Latino culture is warm and accepting and we should take time to reflect on the many contributions the Latino community continues to make.

Message to Youth
Nursing is such a rewarding career. To be able to work closely with an individual, to be able to create solutions, to create a plan to have people live their healthiest lives is so rewarding to me. It’s a field that requires a lot of passion and I encourage anyone who loves to help people to pursue nursing.

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