In honor of Nurses Week, which Northwell Health is celebrating all month long, we are sharing the stories of some of our incredible nurses and their inspirational journeys. For Nicole Martinez, she decided to become a nurse all because of a smile.
It all began when her mother was being cared for at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJMC) for pancreatic cancer in 2005. Although her mother’s outcome was not the one Nicole’s family had hoped for, the amazing nurses, doctors and patient care assistants left a lasting impression. The day Nicole was told her mother only had one week to live, she walked into the room expecting tears but instead found her mother smiling with her nurse. Reflecting on that moment, Nicole says, “To this day I do not know what that nurse said to make her smile, but I remember thinking here is a 46-year-old woman who was just told she was going to die…and someone made her smile.” That moment and that smile was what led Nicole to become a nurse so that she too could help others find comfort during the most difficult time in their lives.
After her mother passed away, Nicole needed to pause her education to help support her family, so she took a position as a receptionist at LIJMC where she worked for two years before applying and being accepted to nursing school. With the support of Northwell, her manager, and her coworkers, Nicole was able to continue working full time while attending school full time with support from Northwell’s tuition reimbursement program. Her determination and hard work paid off when she graduated with her Associate Degree in Nursing and began working as a registered nurse on the same floor where she was a receptionist. But she wasn’t finished yet. Nicole went on to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, once again aided by tuition reimbursement and encouragement from Northwell. But she still wasn’t finished. After transferring to the Ambulatory Surgery Unit, (ASU), Nicole again set her sights a little higher and completed her master’s degree. She was then promoted to her current role of assistant nurse manager.
About her amazing accomplishments, Nicole says, “Northwell gave me the opportunities, the strength, the financial support, and the courage that I needed to attain my goals. I tell everyone to this day if you want it, there is no excuse. Thank you Northwell for the past 15 years. Because of you, I am who I am today!”