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Nurse Advocates Health Awareness In The Chicago Community

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

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Ruth Figueroa works for Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, where she is a staff nurse for the Community Education Department, as well as a nurse case manager and informative speaker within her community.

(Photo Courtesy of Ruth Figueroa)

(Photo Courtesy of Ruth Figueroa)

How do you feel your education has helped in your career?

“If it wasn’t for my education, I would not be in such a privileged position to speak to communities about health. My education has opened doors that would otherwise be closed. I go out into the community and give informative talks on the importance of mammograms, pap smears and screenings. I also give performance improvements reports and quarterly reports to help improve the programs offered through Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center.”

What inspired you to go into the nursing field?

“Nedra S. Mixon was a nurse I worked with who had the ability to not only take vital signs but listen to patients and provide them with comfort and care like no one else. She encouraged me to go to school by her actions as a caring, knowledgeable nurse that advocated for her patients. After I left the job as a receptionist, I enrolled in classes and became a nurse.”

What advice can you give others looking to go into the nursing field?

“The nursing profession is going through a transition period where most hospitals are requiring nurses to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and therefore I would counsel anyone to seek a BSN at a reputable university. Another great alternative is to seek a two-year degree, work as an RN and then return to school to achieve a BSN. This alternative allows you to work in the profession to gain experience and go to school to further your education. I have seen that there is a difference with a higher level of education. Personally, I have gained some knowledge that I didn’t have and I have become a bit more inquisitive and confident in my profession.”

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor’s in Communication and is currently working on her Master’s. Her work can be found on

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