A presidential reflection

Current Alumni Council President, Ashley-Marie Mendez (ABSN 2014) shared her Gator Nursing story with students. Ashley-Marie has practiced at UF Health in a variety of roles, including trauma and lung transplant medical-surgical nurse and lung transplant nurse coordinator. She currently practices with with UF Health Shands HomeCare as a home health nurse. Ashley-Marie recently returned to the UF College of Nursing as a family-track DNP student and is expected to graduate in fall 2024.


Why did you decide to become a nurse?

I decided to become a nurse so I could help  people. I know it’s cliché, but for me it’s true. I’ve been passionate about pursuing a career in health care since age 14. My path to nursing was not exactly linear, but once I made the decision to become a nurse. I’ve never looked back. 

What is your favorite part about being a nurse?

My favorite part about being a nurse is the privilege to help people at the most vulnerable points of their lives, navigate this complicated, and often broken, health care system. But, my favorite part about being a home health nurse is petting all the dogs.

What advice do you have for nursing students?

The advice I have for nursing students is learn to be okay with uncertainty. It is okay to not know what your next step is. It is okay if you do not know exactly what kind of nurse do you want to become. And chances are, once you decide it’ll change anyway. It’s like the following quote: “ The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.” -Brené Brown