Dream Comes True for New Nursing Graduate: From Janitor to BSN at NYU

Persistence and hard work paid off for Frank Baez who recently graduated as a nurse with flying colors. Many nurses have graduated over the past few weeks, but Baez’s story has that inspirational dream-come-true quality.

Over the course of just more than a decade, Baez’s career progressed from a janitor, who could hardly speak English, to a BSN – and at the same university.

Baez, now 29, came from the Dominican Republic with his mother when he was 15 years old. At age 17 he took a weekend job as a janitor at New York University’s Langone Tisch Hospital to help support his family – cleaning passages, bathrooms, and patient rooms.

Eventually, Baez was working as a patient transporter. He described how, at the time, he admired the nurses for their advocacy role and passion for their job – wishing he could be one of them. Nurses who worked with him at the hospital recall that even then he was always asking questions and showing a lot of compassion while interacting with patients.

Baez left his job at the hospital to complete his Bachelor’s degree at Hunter’s College with Spanish Literature as his major and biological science as a minor subject.  He became the first member of his family to graduate but he knew he wanted to get back into health care at NYU.

He was appointed as a unit clerk at Langone Orthopedic Hospital and it was here that his nurse colleagues encouraged him to apply to NYU’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing. He was admitted to an accelerated BSN program. He attended classes from 8:00 to 14:00 and then rushed to his job as a unit clerk working from 15:00 to 23:00.  He only changed to working part-time in his during his final semester.

Despite this rigorous schedule, Baez completed his nursing degree within 15 months with a GPA of 3.6. “If you work hard and you have discipline, and you want something, you should always go for it,” explained Baez. “Never give up on your dreams. Now I reflect on it and I feel very proud of how much I accomplished.”

Baez is now preparing for his NCLEX-RN exam and hopes that he’ll get a nursing position at NYU Langone.  He’s also not finished with studying yet, planning to apply for admission to a master’s program in critical care nursing.

Frieda Paton is a registered nurse with a Master’s degree in nursing education. Her passion for nursing education, nursing issues and advocacy for the profession were ignited while she worked as an education officer, and later editor, at a national nurses’ association. This passion, together with interest in health and wellness education since her student days, stayed with her throughout her further career as a nurse educator and occupational health nurse. Having reached retirement age, she continues to contribute to the profession as a full-time freelance writer. In the news and feature articles she writes for Nurseslabs, she hopes to inspire nursing students and nurses on the job to reflect on the trends and issues that affect their profession and communities - and play their part in advocacy wherever they find themselves.

7 thoughts on “Dream Comes True for New Nursing Graduate: From Janitor to BSN at NYU”

  1. I really love this story about Baez’s triumph! Congrats on your new career. I’m a LPN and soon to be back in college for my associates in science this fall. Wish me all the blessings 💙. Again congrats 🎈 to Mr. Baez Rn😇

  2. Salute!!! Hopefully my destiny will be just like him 😊. I will be starting my BSN program this September plus taking care of my family, a husband and 3 kids. Not going to be easy but stories like this gives me hope that I can do this 🙏❤😍. Such an inspiration.


Leave a Comment

Share to...