Years after working as a janitor at NYU, a man graduated with a nursing degree from the same school

Kate Lord/NYUFrank Baez and his family on graduation day.
  • When Frank Baez was 15, he and his mother moved from the Dominican Republic to New York, according to Good Morning America.
  • As a teenager, he worked at New York University’s Langone Tisch Hospital, according to CNN.
  • While working there he realised he wanted to become a nurse one day.
  • Eventually, he quit in order to get his bachelor’s degree at Hunter College.
  • On Monday, he graduated from NYU’s Rory Meyers College of Nursing, after completing a 15-month program.
  • Visit INSIDER’S homepage for more stories.

When he was 17, Frank Baez took a job that would change the course of his life. But at the time he didn’t know it.

According to CNN, in 2006 the teenager worked as a janitorial housekeeper at NYU Langone’s Tisch Hospital on the weekends. Two years before, in 2004, he had moved to New York from the Dominican Republic with his mum and two brothers.

Baez took the job cleaning bathrooms, hallways, and patients’ rooms, to help his family, but he soon found that he enjoyed working in the hospital environment, he told Good Morning America.

“While working [at NYU] with the nurses, I realised I wanted to be one of them,” he said. “I learned how much they advocate for their patients and the passion they have for their job.”

Soon, he transitioned from janitorial housekeeping role to a transport job, bringing patients to get tests and procedures.

“He would ask the nurses questions about patient care and what it takes to become a nurse. My colleagues and I encouraged him to follow his dream,” Natalya Pasklinsky, the director of simulation learning at the NYU nursing school and former nurse at Langone’s Tisch Hospital, told CNN.

Read more: 9 labour and delivery nurses at a Maine hospital are pregnant at the same time

Eventually, he quit the part-time job so he could attend Hunter College, where he studied Spanish literature and biological sciences, according to CNN.

After becoming the first person in his family to graduate from college, he had his sights set on NYU for nursing school, GMA reported.

Baez, 29, enrolled in the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing for an accelerated program, earning his degree in 15 months. According to CNN, he worked a full-time job during his first semester in school.

On Monday, he graduated from the program and is now preparing to begin his career. He hopes to work as a critical care nurse in an intensive care unit, according to GMA.

“Frank will become an excellent nurse,” Pasklinsky told CNN. “Because his heart is in it.”

But getting to where is now wasn’t easy. He told GMA that the last few years have involved a great deal of hard work and perseverance.

“I was never an A student. I just studied a lot and worked a lot,” he said. “Of course there were times I doubted myself, but then I felt that I wanted to do something more for myself, that I deserved better, that I wanted to continue to move forward and grow and go on with my life. What I did was I never gave up.”

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.