We had the good fortune of connecting with Maria Dominguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maria, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I believe if you don’t take risks you will never challenge yourself, you will always wonder what your life would have been if you had decided to take risks. I say this from experience and apply it to school I was always afraid of the risks. What if I take this risk and won’t be able to afford school? What if I leave my job and risk not being happy for taking this step? What if I take the risk and fail? What if.. what if.. what if… I then learned to change my mentality! What if I take the risk and succeed!! What if I left this job and went after my passion and I am successful! I have learned to take risks because I no longer want to waste time or wonder about what if’s. Because I took a risk by leaving my job and went to school full-time, I am happy to say that I have recently graduated with two degrees! My dream was to go to school and become a registered nurse and I achieved my goal! My second degree came as a surprise, another risk I took! My school offered me a full-ride scholarship in exchange for taking another degree. It was a huge risk at the time, I had just begun nursing school and didn’t know if I could manage taking an additional degree! Most schools didn’t allow this because the nursing program can be rigorous! Financially this would be an amazing opportunity to graduate debt-free! I took the risk, although at times it seemed impossible, I was persistent and graduated with a full-ride-scholarship and two degrees! Something I thought I could never achieve!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Something I am most proud of is completing my nursing degree, if you were to tell me a few short years back that I would reach my goal of being a nurse, I would have never believed it! I had encountered more failures back then I would not be able to fathom achieving my goal! Something I am most excited about is working and absorbing all the knowledge that’s out there! My career in the medical field has been different and a bit all over the place. My career first started working as a medical biller and coder shortly, after completing school I learned this was not for me. I then went to school to become a medical assistant this is where my passion for the medical field began! I learned so much! I have worked in primary care, urgent care, plastic surgery. I worked in a medical spa, worked with adults in specialty care. Ultimately ended working with children the longest. I worked for Rady Children’s Hospital Outpatient Speciality Clinic and learned so much. This was a multi-specialty clinic where every day we ran a different clinic. I worked directly with the chief of neurology and ENT where I learned so much from these amazing providers these are just a few of the clinics that I ran. By working in a specialty clinic, I was able to learn so much about the pediatric population. My dream job as a nurse has always been working as an emergency room nurse. Any way I could get my foot in the door, I would ask to pick up shifts. In my most recent role I work as a unit secretary/ patient care assistant for labor and delivery, antepartum, and postpartum, where I work directly with the patients and newborns. Working as PCA on this unit only confirmed that I enjoyed working at the hospital. There is so much going on in every unit, which I feel is a perfect opportunity to learn.
As for my career being difficult, I don’t necessarily think that my career was difficult, but I believe there was a lack of knowledge about being new to the medical field. Everything I learned was from the staff I worked they taught me where I could potentially work and would give me insight into their career. In today’s world the internet being at the tip of your fingertips I feel it is much easier to look up a career you want to join and consider the pros and cons. I learned to overcome the challenges of not knowing where my career could potentially take me by making connections. I spoke with nurses that worked around me and picked their brain and asked for advice. I would talk to anyone who worked in the medical field, I would ask what they enjoyed about their work and what were steps they took to get to where they were at in their career. As for lessons that have I learned and some tips I would give is people will do a lot of self-projecting when it comes to your goals and where you want to go in your career. Take people’s advice with a grain of salt ultimately this will be your decision, and know that if things don’t turn out as planned, that’s okay! Take it as a lesson learned and never as a failure.
Something I would like people to know about my brand and story is that you will always find positivity in everything I encounter! I share the good, the bad, my failures, and my success, I want people to know they are capable of achieving everything they set their minds to. My page is meant to inspire people as well as being a mentor for those who feel lost, I am always happy to help and share any tips I have learned along the way!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The first place I would take them is the beach! Living in Oceanside for a few years being able to wake up to an ocean view was such a blessing, we would head out to Oceanside pier! I would then take them hiking in Torry Pines they can enjoy the view while getting their heart rate up! After this, we would hit up a Mexican taco shop of course! One of my favorite spots is Albertos Mexican food in Carlsbad. We would then make an entire day and head to the San Diego Wild Animal Park in Escondido. I am a huge animal lover and enjoy being outdoors which makes for the best combination. We would then head to balboa park and explore the park and enjoy the art and museums. I would then take them to La Jolla Cove, that’s right you can never get enough of the beach and to top it off there are adorable sea lions we can enjoy watching. After this, we would head to Little Italy and enjoy some shopping at the boutiques and enjoy some beautiful architecture. Then take a trip to the flower fields in Carlsbad after doing some shopping at the Carlsbad outlets of course. The last place I would probably take them is one of my favorite places is Bates Nut Farm I love being able to get out of the city and enjoy some quiet time in nature while enjoying the scenery it brings a sense of calmness and would be a perfect way to end the week!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
If you follow me on my social media, you will see that the story behind my success is and always has been my parents. I was born in Mexico, at the age of three my parents decided they wanted to pursue the “American Dream”! They wanted us (my sisters and I) to be able to have a better education and be able to achieve our goals. They packed a few bags and set off to America. My parents gave up an entire life they had built so that one day I may reach my goals! I am a first-generation minority student and school was difficult to navigate on my own. I encountered many obstacles and there were many times I wanted to give up, I felt so lost in school. My parents were always very supportive throughout my entire educational path. They always pushed me and embedded in me that I can achieve any goal I set for myself. They never gave up on me and I am grateful for that. Because I was a first-generation student everything that had to do with school was new to me. When I started school, the internet wasn’t as useful as it is today. This would have been a great tool to have around. Not to mention, Instagram, a social media platform that helps first-generation students have access to many and have the ability to questions regarding their education. Instagram has also played an important role in my life, I created a platform where I can connect with others that were in the same boat as I was. A lost, first-generation nursing student in school, although I created this platform to help others there were many times that I felt like I couldn’t keep up. The people that had been following my story since the beginning were there cheering me on!! I receive messages about how I inspired others to pursue their dream! One message that touched my heart was off one who stated she was also a minority in her school and often felt left out, as I did many times. She told me that she would remind herself that “Maria, (me) can doesn’t let being a “minority” stop her, so neither will I”! This is just one of many messages that I receive. It is so touching, I am thankful to have the support of both my family as well as those with who I have grown to connect on Instagram. There are so many other nursing influencers that were there for me in my most difficult time in nursing school. We have seen each other grow in our journeys, I am truly blessed to have support from all areas. I can say that I am grateful to have such amazing parents that helped me defeat all the odds that were against me.