Medical Student Goes From Doctor To Nurse

With a budding career as a doctor, Andres Quevedo’s future in Venezuela seemed set— to the outside world.

But Quevedo, 31, wasn’t satisfied.

“There is no one single reason why I moved to the U.S.,” Quevedo said. “In a period of 10 years my family was robbed 10 times. If I stayed in Venezuela there would be no future for me.”

Today, Quevedo’s future is as a nurse.

He earned an associate in arts degree in pre-nursing and an associate in science degree as a registered nurse this past spring semester from Miami Dade College. He started his bachelor of science degree in nursing this fall at the Medical Center Campus.

Quevedo expects to graduate by the summer of 2012.

“I’m just doing what I love and what I think is right and even if I make mistakes the thing is to keep going and not quit,” Quevedo said.

The road has not been easy for Quevedo.

Quevedo began studying to be a doctor when he was 18 years old. Six years later, he started working at an outpatient health care center and then moved to a general hospital working as a resident in the obstetrics and gynecologist area and the emergency room.

“My parents were really concerned with my future not only because of political and economic problems [in Venezuela] but because there is no safety there, not even at our home or jobs,” Quevedo said.

In 2008 Quevedo left Venezuela and moved to Miami. His aim was to re-validate his degree and continue his career in the health care system.

Six months after Quevedo’s move to Miami he was still feeling lost. It was not until his cousin was hospitalized with motion sickness that he found his new path.

“That’s when I saw what nurses do,” Quevedo said. “The nurse is the main link from the patient to the doctor and that’s what I love to do.”

Shortly after, Quevedo began visiting local colleges and universities in South Florida.

“When I visited MDC they were the only higher education system who opened the doors and gave me the opportunities to start something,” Quevedo said.

The College accepted some of his previous credits from Venezuela and he began his studies with hopes of being accepted into MDC’s nursing program. In the fall of 2008, Quevedo enrolled at North Campus.

But the first time he applied for the nursing program, he was not accepted.

After Quevedo’s first semester, he decided to get involved on campus by joining the Student Leader Council at North, where he served as a mentor to freshmen. Quevedo also joined the Student Government Association serving as a senator. At Medical Center Campus he served as SGA president during the 2010-11 school year.

Quevedo is currently a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the two-year college student honor society. He is also a member of the National Student Nursing Association.

“I got involved with student activities because it doesn’t make sense to go to school and go home,” Quevedo said.

Quevedo reapplied after the spring semester in 2009 to MDC’s nursing school. He was rejected again, but was accepted after his third attempt.

He credits his Brother, Oswaldo Quevedo, for keeping him on track.

“We would do anything for him,” Oswaldo said. “Whatever he needs, we are all here for him.”

Quevedo has also received support from those he has met during his journey at MDC.

“Andres is a true leader, a knowledgeable, dedicated medical professional; a friend to everyone, and a mentor to many,” said Lorraine Hahn, Student Life director at Medical Center Campus.

Quevedo sees himself working at a hospital or a nursing home in the future.

“It’s a long term goal to re-validate my degree as a medical doctor, but right now I am enjoying nursing school and the nursing world,” Quevedo said. “People see it as if I am going back a step but it’s a misconception, there are so many things you can do as a nurse. It’s not just pushing an IV and giving oral medication, it is more than that. It’s about improving the lives of patients.”

Staff writer Paola Asencio contributed to this report.