Young woman stands smiling in patient room.

How Cesiah Found Her Passion for Nursing

How Cesiah Found Her Passion for Nursing

Young woman stands smiling in patient room.
Cesiah Gonzales found her unexpected passion for nursing when she was assigned an X3 internship at the University of New Mexico Hospital during her sophomore year in high school. Originally she wanted to join the Marines, now she is now pursuing a nursing degree at UNM with aspirations to be a combat medic or Veterans Affairs provider.

Cesiah Gonzales didn’t know she wanted to be a nurse.

Originally, she wanted to join the Marine Corps after high school, following in her uncle’s footsteps by serving in the military. Cesiah’s family plays an important role in her life. 

Cesiah attended Health Leadership High School where she was connected with the X3 internship program. The summer of her sophomore year she became a medical assistant intern at the University of New Mexico Hospital’s Family Practice Clinic.

Cesiah had not given any thought to pursuing a career other than joining the Marines Corps, she says, “I didn't even think about venturing out, I never even gave myself the opportunity.” This X3 opportunity allowed her to explore new paths for herself.

After a few months on the job, Cesiah loved and excelled in her duties at the clinic. She says that joining the X3 Internship program is “the best way to navigate searching for your career.” She continued working at the same clinic until her senior year. 

“I loved working as a medical assistant and decided to pursue nursing as a career,” Cesiah says.

Fostering Growth

Future Focused’s X3 Internship opens doors to future careers and higher education. Students are paired with local employers to provide meaningful work experiences where they are paid, receiving a monthly stipend. X3 works with schools in historically underserved communities and the mentors and employers are fully supported by the X3 team. 

Cesiah was paired with mentor Elisa Trujillo at the Family Practice Clinic at UNMH. Elisa, a Medical Assistant, and Cesiah bonded quickly while Elisa taught Cesiah how to perform MA tasks on the job.

Cesiah explains, “I'm a visual learner. In the beginning I did a lot of observing. Once I felt confident, I would do the tasks of an MA myself."

An intern at a hospital looks over paperwork with her mentor.
X3 intern Cesiah (left) shows her work to her mentor Elisa Trujillo (right) at the Family Practice Clinic at UNM Hospital.

Cesiah and Elisa were stuck to each other like glue most days. Cesiah found her mentorship to be crucial in her journey of applying to college and pursuing her career as a nurse. 

“Elisa has been a mother to me in the profession,” says Cesiah, “she’s played such a huge role in my self-discovery and my self-confidence.” 

Cesiah describes her internship in one word: rewarding. She says, “Being able to go in and see what it's like to help these patients, that's why it's rewarding. I see these patients through their treatment plan, one day a patient will be at level ten in pain, and then three months later they're like, ‘Oh my God, my medications are working.’”

Cesiah was able to perform several hands-on tasks, which gave her an edge when applying to the nursing program at the University of New Mexico. She says that one of the skills she’s learned the most is how to speak to patients.

“I learned most about people skills,” says Cesiah. “I never had the experience of being in a professional setting where I had to speak with patients in a different manner and then go and report to a provider in a different tone and language.” 

Ceisah went on to explain how as an MA you have to be able to make the patient comfortable, and usually that doesn’t mean talking in technical terms which can intimidate the patient.

A New Path

Working with X3 allowed her—and her family—to see how she can make a difference in the medical field. 

Cesiah was nervous sharing her new found love for nursing with her family, especially after being so committed to joining the Marines. But Cesiah’s uncle who had served for 12 years told her, “I just want you to know, it's okay for you not to go in. I’ll be proud of you for following whatever your dream is.” 

When sharing this, Cesiah became emotional; one of her family’s core values is serving. “I always admired my uncle,” says Cesiah, “I think my idea was: ‘I want to give back to him.’” 

Cesiah is now a freshman at the University of New Mexico and is double majoring in nursing and Spanish with a focus on trauma cases. By using her knowledge and skills of medicine, she wants to continue giving back whether she is out on the field, or in town at a Veterans Affairs clinic. 

“My ultimate goal is to become a combat medic because I would still be giving back to men and women like my uncle, but in the service of medicine,” says Cesiah. 

Cesiah Today

Cesiah just finished up her first semester at the UNM and had a whirlwind of projects to close up the semester. She had her final exhibition for her X3 internship, she starred in a Future Focused video “A Day in the Life of an X3 Intern.” She was even asked to speak on behalf of the program at a press conference at UNMH, where she was interviewed by several news outlets.

Slide from intern presentation.

Slides from Cesiah’s final X3 internship exhibition at the close of 2023. 

At the press conference, Cesiah spoke to the director of UNMH about how impactful the internship was for her and these experiences inspire youth like her to work in the medical field. 
student being interviewed by news channel.

Cesiah interviewed by KOB 4 at the UNMH press conference. 

In her interview with KOB 4 she said, “It’s truly been such an honor. I appreciate it so much. I never imagined in a million years that I’d be up here.”

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