Tricia Duenas - Charting a Path to Success

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I am a graduate from the University of Arizona’s College of Nursing where I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing. The program is a highly competitive program consisting of two years of pre-requisite classes followed by an additional two years of nursing courses and clinical rotations. I had special training in long-term care, obstetrics, pediatrics, medical surgical care, intensive care, emergency medicine, and public health. Throughout nursing school, I was very fortunate to have been awarded scholarships to aid in my higher education journey.

Through the Miss America Organization, I was awarded an academic scholarship as Miss Tucson Desert Rose 2015. The University of Arizona’s College of Nursing has additionally chosen me as their scholarship recipient for the Ann Kirkwood Spring 2016 scholarship award and the Wilburn and Janet Breechen Spring 2017 scholarship award.  

During the course of obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I made it a priority to get myself acquainted with extra-curricular activities. I became actively involved with the Student Nurses of the University of Arizona club (SNUA), the Filipino American Student Association (FASA), and the Gamma Beta Phi (GBP) Honor’s society.

As for work experience and training, I obtained my nursing assistant license in high school and worked as a behavioral health technician prior to the start of nursing school. I found my love for working with children and took on a job as habilitation therapist and respite caregiver during college where I worked with autistic children to help them develop milestone skills using applied behavior analysis.

Tell us about yourself. What kinds of hobbies and activities do you enjoy.

I am 22 years old and currently reside in Tucson, Arizona. Growing up, I was fortunate to live in the United States and the Philippines making me Bilingual in English and Tagalog. I have been competing in pageants since I was 13 years old and have been honored to serve my community and represent my culture through pageantry. During nursing school, I learned the importance of self-care and balance and I have since incorporated a practice of yoga and meditation into my life. Recently, I have taken up mixed martial arts and I am truly enjoying it. On my spare time, I love to travel and spend time with my morkie poo, Nala, and pitbull mix, Weasley.

What is the biggest misconception about you? What's something people would be surprised to know about you?

I think since I have done pageants, I have had others who do not know me think of me as a stereotypical ‘pageant girl’. Many of them are surprised to learn that I do not fit the typical stigma of what many perceive pageant girls to be. I am not a professional model, pretentious, nor am I uneducated like many other pageant girls I know.

What would your teachers/mentors say is your greatest strength?

I have actually have had teachers and mentors say my greatest strength to be my passion. I dedicate 100% of myself into everything I set my mind to and it is humbling to know other recognize my hard work as well. My passion has instilled a ‘go getter’ approach to everything I do.

What personal traits would you like to see yourself build in the next four years?

My goal is to gain more confidence as a nurse. As a baby nurse or otherwise known as a new grad nurse, the health field is new and fresh. I will strive to learn as much as I can and soak in all of the experiences to come. I have so much to still learn and I am excited for what’s to come.

What recent achievement(s)/personal accomplishment(s) make you especially proud?

Honestly, obtaining my bachelor’s degree in nursing has been a dream of mine every since I was 16 years old so I would say I am especially proud for achieving my dream. As a first general college student, I am humbled to have gotten this far in my education.

Feature Photos and July 2017 Cover Courtesy Ihman Esturco Photography

What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

I plan on working as a pediatric nurse for a year or two before applying to graduate school. I want to continue my higher education and obtain either a master’s degree or doctorate’s degree in nursing to become a nurse practitioner. Within the next couple of years, I look forward to finishing my graduate degree and starting my profession as a pediatric nurse practitioner in the near future. I am also big on social media and the influence it has on many individuals. I would love to have an influence on the medical field via social media outlets as well.

What would be your dream job in life?

My dream job is to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. I fell in love with the world of pediatrics since I was in my junior year of high school when I worked as a children’s dance instructor. I want nothing more than to make a difference in the lives of all the tiny humans I meet along my nursing journey.

What advice do you have to offer to future nursing students?

My advice to anyone wanting to pursue nursing is to get as much experience as possible prior to embarking on the journey. Nursing is not for everyone and it takes very special people to take on this profession. One never stops being a nurse. It is an incredible profession consisting of some of the most dedicated and selfless people I have ever met. Other than that, my only other advice to nursing students out there is to always remember why you started and to always believe in yourself especially when times get rough.

Describe an obstacle you have faced and how you overcame it.

Being a first generation college student is a huge obstacle I had to overcome. Everything from college applications to expensive tuition to moving away from home was extremely stressful for me cause I did not understand any of it. I did not let it hinder me from going to college though. I seeked for resources to educate myself on transitioning to college and made it a goal for myself to obtain financial aid through scholarships. I took each challenge day by day and before I knew it, I was graduating with my bachelor’s degree in a blink of an eye.

What is your personal philosophy and source of motivation? Do you have a motto that you live by?

My personal philosophy and motto I live by is dreams don’t work unless you do. I am a firm believer in hard work paying off. I think things in life are earned by setting a goal and working hard towards it. My source of motivation stems from my support system. I am so grateful to have amazing family and friends who encourage me every step of the way in everything that I do. My mom is my biggest source of motivation. I admire her strength and commitment to all she conquers. Every time I feel like I doubt myself I try to think like her.


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