While Elva Aceves’ grandparents always taught her that higher education was the road to independence, Elva never dreamed she would also find a career that would change her life.
Growing up, education was a priority for Elva. Her grandparents were farm workers. They wanted more for Elva and encouraged her to focus on education as the path to a better life.
When Elva graduated from Coachella Valley High School she enrolled at University of California, San Diego to pursue Pre-med. But it wasn’t long before the financial pressures grew to be too much to handle. Elva returned home to work and re-evaluate her options.
Grateful for the sacrifices made by her family, Elva knew she owed it to them to go back to school. She enrolled in the College of the Desert nursing program, determined to make something of herself. It was a constant struggle to stay focused with competition for attention from work and other outside forces. And then she met Miss Abby.
College of the Desert nursing instructor Abigail Bravo helped Elva focus. “As a working nurse, Miss Abby was tough, but I made a real connection with her,” Elva explains. “When I struggled, she was there for me as a mentor, making it seem possible and worthwhile to continue.”
Work experience in local hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities also helped open Elva’s eyes to the possibilities for the wide variety of roles today’s nurses can play. Following her graduation from the nursing program in May 2009, Elva went to work as a telemetry nurse at JFK Memorial Hospital. Before long, she progressed to her current position as Clinical Informatics Manager, guiding implementation and support of the electronic health record in all areas of the hospital.
“If you stay with it, an education brings you opportunities you didn’t dream existed,” Elva says. “Thanks to Miss Abby and COD.”