2022 Nightingale Scholarship Recipient Alijah Romero
ESPAÑOLA — Northern New Mexico College (NNMC) student Alijah Romero is one of 20 recipients of the 2022 Nightingale Scholarship from the New Mexico Center for Nursing Excellence.
The Nightingale Scholarship is awarded to students who exemplify outstanding and caring leadership and professionalism as a beginning practitioner in their first 18 months as a registered nurse. According to a statement on the website, this year’s scholarship recipients exhibit “incredible dedication to their work, their studies and their communities.”
Romero, who earned her Associate Degree in Nursing from NNMC in 2020, is a full-time nurse at Presbyterian Española Hospital. She worked with substance abuse patients at New Mexico Treatment Services LLC prior to joining Presbyterian and volunteered with Junior ROTC before COVID-19 curtailed that program. In addition to her professional commitments, Romero is pursuing an RN to BSN degree at Northern and is committed to supporting her colleagues in their professional goals.
“I think it’s an honor to have been chosen for this, because Florence Nightingale was a great leader 200 or so years ago,” Romero said. “To me, she’s an icon, because she made us professional nurses and really helped shape modern day nursing. So, it’s really nice to think that my leadership abilities made it possible for me to be awarded with this scholarship.”
Romero strives to provide excellent patient care for the Española community through her position with Presbyterian’s outpatient services. She finds ways to incorporate the techniques she is learning in the RN to BSN program, the only certified holistic nursing program in New Mexico.
“I always try to promote health and well-being among my patients in a holistic manner,” Romero said. “With the holistic bachelor’s program, we’re learning how to care for the patient not only by performing intervention based on their condition, but to care for the patient as a whole and help them to heal in a holistic manner: spiritually and emotionally as well as physically, because we learn in this program that everything ties in together to how a patient heals.”
Romero is gratified when her patients respond to her suggestions for self-care measures, which can be as simple as taking a walk three days a week, eating healthier foods or spending a weekend doing something they love.
“A couple of people that I did this for came back for a follow up visit and said, ‘That little recommendation for me to perform self-care for myself really helped me realize that I do need to care for myself better and take time for me,’” Romero said. “They also tell me that it makes them feel better that somebody cares about them.”
Romero plans to continue going above and beyond for her patients while she pursues her education. She expects to complete her RN to BSN degree in December 2022, with plans to continue her education and become a nurse practitioner.
“I plan on going farther, but right now I’m excited to finish up my bachelor’s,” Romero said.