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Raqual Blanco Raquel Blanco'’s interest in healthcare originated from her first class in human anatomy, but her passion for nursing stems from her desire to advocate for the individual. Growing up bilingual in Ossining, New York, and raised by parents originally from Cuba, she recognized the scarcity of assistance for the Hispanic community. As a young adult, Raquel assisted Spanish-speaking community members with translation and documentation. However, when she first delved into the medical field through the New Visions Health Program, she noticed how nurses act as liaisons for patients and provide necessary advocacy for non-English speaking patients. Her home life and her internship helped shape her desire to help non-English speakers navigate medical services. With her acceptance into the Macaulay Honors Program at Lehman College, she is currently a nursing student in her senior year at Lehman. The College has offered her opportunities to realize her dreams in the nursing field and expand her prospects at home and abroad.

At Lehman College, Raquel finds her education to be extremely rewarding due to the nursing program’'s clinical rotations in city hospitals. During her rotations, she was able to conduct brief interviews in Spanish with patients that are of Hispanic descent. Her fluency in Spanish enabled her to better serve as a liaison, translator and facilitator to improve her patient's’ care. As a nurse, she finds, “you are taking in stories and seeing how that person as an individual needs a specific plan of care.” Raquel finds she has received the essential training necessary to achieve her goals in the nursing field through her program at Lehman.

Raquel has taken advantage of the Macaulay’'s Opportunity Fund and studied abroad to further develop her skills and education in the nursing field. She traveled to Cuba, a trip that proved powerful and emotional as she used her parents' native language to learn people’'s stories while working in Cuba'’s hospitals. These experiences, as well as those in New York helped Raquel realize how important nurses are in overall healthcare and how understanding different cultures leads to improved patient care. Raquel is hoping to utilize the Opportunities Fund once again, this time to travel to China. There she hopes to learn Chinese and better understand Chinese culture and medical practices, which she aspires to translate into improved care for her patients back home.

Raquel Blanco
Nursing Student, Class of 2016
Macaulay Honors at Lehman College