The Language of Nursing

The Language of Nursing

Rutgers-Camden graduate finds inspiration in helping others



Andrea Fernandes

Andrea Fernandes

CAMDEN — Language barriers can present an obstacle for nurses caring
for patients who speak little or no English. To deliver the proper healthcare,
communication is the key.

Andrea Fernandes takes pride in her ability to help
Spanish-speaking patients understand questions and issues that may arise in
relation to their health. It’s one of the many reasons she was inspired to
pursue a career in nursing.

“It’s important to make that connection with patients,” says
Fernandes, who will graduate from the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden on May
23. “It makes a huge difference in how you deliver care.”

Fernandes recalls one of her first clinical experiences at
Rutgers–Camden as an example of how she was able to help a patient who needed a
translator.

“The patient only spoke Spanish, so I helped translate,” she says.
“It was the first time the patient was able to communicate certain things to
the nurses that she never told them before.”

Fernandes, a Columbus resident and graduate of Northern Burlington
Regional High School, is fluent in Spanish. Her mother was born in Uruguay and
her father in Brazil. Both of her parents are graduates of Rutgers–New
Brunswick.

“Another time, I had a patient who noticed I was kind of nervous
and he didn’t speak English, so I was translating for him,” she says. “He was
an amputee. He told me I didn’t have to be nervous and he gave me a pep talk.
It was nice to have a patient that displayed that kind of confidence in me as a
nurse.”

Fernandes says she has always aspired to be a nurse because she wants
to make a difference in the lives of others.

“From the day I came to Rutgers–Camden until now, I’ve gained so
much valuable experience through clinics and other work,” she says. “You gain
real experiences with patients and it gives you a lot of confidence to help
them on your own. I really don’t think I would have had the same experience at
another school. My professors and advisors have been so helpful and have made a
difference in providing me with so many different opportunities.”

After commencement, Fernandes hopes to secure a job as a nurse in
an urban location.

“I feel like it’s my way of giving back and that’s important to me,”
she says.

Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse
(856) 225-6759
E-mail: ejmoor@camden.rutgers.edu