Remember regardless of race, gender, ethnicity its something that you will always have that many others may not. Motivation, Ambition, and the Drive to want to do better. That alone will always stick out over any gender or race. 



Who is Monique Patterson?

I am Registered Nurse and I have been in the medical field since 2009 working as a PCA, Direct Support Professional up until 2014 which is when I became a nurse. 

am working as a Community Health Nurse. My job is to educate my patients on the different diseases that they are diagnosed with and medications that they are prescribed. I keep patients up to date on all of their immunizations (flu, pneumonia, Hep B) and provide follow up care for ones who were just recently discharged from the hospital. I also help assist with providing treatment to our homeless population.




Specialized Training

I attended VEEB, a vocational school in NY that provided training for LPN (licensed practical nurse). Once I completed the program, I started taking prerequisite classes such as A&P, Statistics, etc. needed to get into the Associates RN program at Nassau Community College (also located in NY ). I got accepted as an advanced placement student being that I was an LPN so I was able to skip the first semester. It took me 1½ years to complete my Associate’s program.



How did you choose to pursue this field?

Growing up, a variety of my family members and family friends dealt with health issues; anything from diabetes to high blood pressure, to Cancer. I always noticed that although some stayed on top of their health, the majority of them did not until the complications started. I blamed it on not being properly educated on the disease itself due to lack of resources and because of noncompliance. Because of that, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse but NOT just a bedside nurse. I wanted to be that nurse that EDUCATED my patients on prevention NOT trying to fix the problem after it has gotten worse.





Who was your inspiration or role model that guided you to this field?

My role model was definitely my Aunt Johnnie. She was an LPN and although she never went back to school to become an RN she was filled with knowledge. She knew my goal of becoming a nurse from early on and she encouraged me to go back to school all the time. Unfortunately, she passed away before I actually enrolled in the LPN program but she still served as an inspiration for me up until this day.



Did you always have the desire to work in this field? If not, what was your intended field? Why did you change careers?

Dating back to about age 8 or 9 I always knew I wanted to become a nurse.



What do you love most about your job?

The feedback I get from my patients. Most of my patient population are elderly, homeless, or low income. They are always expressing their gratitude for me for taking that extra step that may be needed to demonstrate how to use their insulin pen or to call and follow up with them after they have been discharged from the hospital. It gives them that sense of support to know that someone is actually looking out for their well-being.





What has been this most rewarding aspect of your job or career?

The most rewarding aspect of my job has definitely been the flexibility that I have to work in various fields. As a nurse, you can work in a hospital, a doctor’s office, a correctional facility, a school, etc. There is no one set job with nursing.




What things would you want to see changed about your current job?

I would love for patients (especially minority patients) to become more proactive in their health. Set appointments, get wellness checkups, cancer screenings etc.



What are the most difficult things about working in your field?

The most disappointing aspect of my job is probably not always getting the credit I deserve as being a community health nurse. Working in a correctional facility prior to becoming a community health nurse, I would always hear people saying this isn’t a real job and you don’t utilize any real skills there.  Most people when they hear nurse they think of a nurse in the ER, ICU hanging up IV bags and performing codes on patients and they think that constitutes you as being a real nurse.   I like to think that nurse, no matter her place of employment, should still be valued as an important asset of the team. 



What are your future goals related to your career?

I am in works of starting a blog where I can use my platform to educate and encourage patients in my community of health issues that we are faced. In the near future, I would love for that to lead me to become a health and wellness coach. I also want to open a companion home care agency for seniors and disabled individuals.



What tips would you offer to anyone thinking about entering into your profession/field of study?

Stay true to yourself and maintain a level of confidence at all times! In nursing, we have a saying nurses eat their young. You have to come into this profession having thick skin because there are some people who will try to tear you down before they build you up. Staying confident, motivated, and focused and you will succeed and that’s with anything in life, not just nursing.





How have you combated the stigma of being a “woman of color” in STEM?

Being a person of color in the medical field is still something that shocks some people even though we’re going into 2019. I know some of my colleagues are shocked when I tell them I am the RN, not the Medical Assistant. I think by exhibiting a level of confidence but maintaining professionalism helps me work through that stigma. You have to make people aware of what value you bring to the team; show them that you are highly educated, trained, and equipped for the job. Show them why you deserve the job just as much as the next person. Being professional shows them a sense of humbleness.





What advice would you give your younger self about your career journey as a “woman of color” working in a predominantly white, male-dominated field?

Remember regardless of race, gender, ethnicity its something that you will always have that many others may not. Motivation, Ambition, and the Drive to want to do better. That alone will always stick out over any gender or race. 




Can you provide some words of wisdom to young ladies thinking about entering a STEM field as a career choice?

Do not take No for an answer. If you can get it on the first try, try again. Never EVER give up on yourself. There will always be some obstacles in life but that should make you want to go harder for what you want. They about what Is motivating you to reach your goal (family, children, finances) and whenever you are feeling down or defeated think about your motivation and use that to uplift you. Remain focused and Push Through!



My Family Influence

My parents raised me and my 2 older brothers in Roosevelt,  New York. I am the youngest and the ONLY girl. I have a son by the name of Trevon and a niece named Natalia who I simply adore.  They have been, (along with a numerous amount of other family members/friends)my biggest support system throughout my nursing school journey/career. After finishing nursing school I decided to make North Carolina my new home where I currently reside with son Trevon, and my boyfriend Justin.




How do you juggle motherhood and your career?

It is by far the most difficult thing for me to conquer! I am still struggling with this on a daily basis, especially since I decided to move from NY to NC, leaving my support system in NY. I try to set aside time where I’m solely dedicating my attention to my son which is normally during dinner time. I make it my business to have a no phone/tablet policy and discuss things that happened during his school day or any other random things he may want to speak about. Also, at least once a week or every other weekend I try to plan family outings for us. 


We hope you enjoyed learning about our latest “STEMsation”, please comment about how her experiences have inspired you, how your experiences can inspire others and nominate our next “STEMsation to spotlight their amazing accomplishments.



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