If you have ever set foot into the medical world, then you have probably been impacted by the work of a nurse. All across the country, nurses are the caretakers, advocates, teachers, and friends who make caring happen.

Come along with us as we open the doors to the world of nursing. What does it take to be a nurse? What kind of impact do nurses have on their patients? Why is nursing such a meaningful career? It’s time to hear the stories of how nurses change lives.

Nursing is a career with a truly universal impact. In countries all around the world, you will find people who are doing the important work of nurses — caring for patients and advocating for their health.

Jamaica C. of UPMC Presbyterian, can attest to this fact firsthand. She never would’ve anticipated that her nursing career would take her halfway across the globe from her homeland, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jamaica’s Career Beginnings

A native of the Philippines, Jamaica’s nursing story began in her home country. As a student, she received her Bachelor’s degree in nursing, and although she always had an interest in working abroad, she figured that her only opportunity to do so would be through a skilled visa.

Everything changed for Jamaica when a friend introduced her to her future husband — an American citizen and a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As their relationship progressed, it became clear that America would be the place for them to settle down and start their lives together.

So Jamaica’s life and career took a turn that she hadn’t expected: a move to Pennsylvania!

From the Philippines to Pennsylvania

Although Jamaica had received her nursing degree in the Philippines, the process of transplanting her life and career to America required a great deal of effort and dedication. Between submitting her credentials for review, taking the NCLEX exam, and sending papers back and forth between the United States and her school in the Philippines, Jamaica’s journey to America was not an easy process.

Her hard work paid off, however, when she landed her first nursing job in America. In 2015, Jamaica launched her nursing career in UPMC Presbyterian’s General Medicine Unit. While her career has since taken her elsewhere, Jamaica looks back on her time in that unit with fondness. “General Medicine really helped me hone my nursing skills,” Jamaica said. “It’s a good stepping stone for someone going anywhere else.”

Finding Her Place at UPMC

After a year in the General Medicine Unit, Jamaica left UPMC to pursue an opportunity at a different hospital. Before long, however, Jamaica decided to return to the place that she knew was right for her – UPMC.

Upon her return to UPMC Presbyterian, Jamaica transitioned to working in the Rehab Unit, a department that she calls the “gateway to home.” Patients usually come to Rehab shortly before their discharge from the hospital, following a variety of treatments. In the Rehab Unit, Jamaica and her team provide care for stroke patients, transplant patients, cardiothoracic surgery patients, amputees, and more. This wide variety of patients has allowed her to develop skills across different nursing specialties and has given her the confidence to pursue new opportunities, including her current role as a Clinical Transplant Coordinator.

Several years into her career, Jamaica’s work as a nurse has come full circle. Her nursing career began on a bumpy road, as she struggled to transition her life and occupation across the globe and make her home in America.

Nevertheless, these experiences and trials have prepared Jamaica for the care she provides today. Having found her home in Pittsburgh, Jamaica is now uniquely equipped to care for patients as they make their transitions home, as well.