David Bracho

When I was deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, with the U.S. Army Reserve, I saw many medical problems that needed addressing.

But as a nonmedical person, all I could do was bandage a wound or hand out water.

When I thought about going back to my job as a wedding photographer after my deployment, I knew I had a different calling: I wanted to be a nurse.

My goal is to become a trauma nurse in both a civilian hospital and the Army Reserve and, one day, to work with international aid organizations.

While a student at the UIC College of Nursing, I’ve had poignant learning experiences to prepare me for my future as a nurse. During spring break [2018], I went to Puerto Rico with a team of nursing students to assist survivors of Hurricane Maria. We saw patients with dire medical needs. On my medical-surgical clinical rotation, I bonded with a patient. We swapped stories about our lives. It was wonderful to both treat his ailments and build a friendship.

I came to UIC because I wanted a school that represented the melting pot of America. I value the opportunity to learn from other cultures, beliefs and ways of thinking.