jessica hernandez uci school of nursing alum

Jessica Hernandez saw her mother battle leukemia as a child. The experience led her to a career in nursing.

Jessica Hernandezs mom battled leukemia and was frequently hospitalized when Hernandez was young.

She didnt know it at the time, but the experience was leading her to a career in nursing.

I knew I wanted to do something in science or medicine,” she says. In fact, she chose neuroscience as her major when applying to universities.

But the experience with her mother, who passed away when Hernandez was in 8th grade, and witnessing how the nurses interacted with the whole family, kept calling to her.

I didnt think I could be a nurse, but I was drawn in that direction.”

Struggling with doubts

Hernandez eventually decided to enroll in the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing in 2010. She found it challenging and struggled with doubts in the beginning.

I knew that nursing is a tough career and I didnt know if I was strong enough,” she says.

She graduated in 2014. Today, she works at the neuroscience step-down unit at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Finding her calling

Nursing is challenging, she says, but she found her calling at the bedside.

I love being that person to advocate and educate, being the one you can trust. I lucked out. I feel lucky to be in a spot where I can translate my experience to the patients.”

Hernandez feels extremely satisfied with where she is right now, though eventually she may transition positions. Shes open to seeing where her path leads.

I want to educate myself on what Im practicing so I can better the unit in my own way.”

‘Moonlighting’ as a nurse

Hernandez doesnt rest too much in her downtime.

Shes a food nerd and beverage buff who does a fair amount of writing for magazines and digital publications. She also enjoys coffee, baking, photography and bouldering in the desert.

I tell people that I moonlight as a nurse.”