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CMC nursing graduate realizes need for bilingual skills

Mike McKibbin
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Glenwood Springs resident Monica Rodriguez, a unit secretary at Valley View Hospital, will receive her nursing degree from Colorado Mountain College at Spring Valley's graduation ceremonies May 7. Rodriguez is bilingual, a Qualified Medical Interpreter -- and the youngest student in this year’s nursing class. Photo Mike McKibbin
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Telling someone a family member had died was the turning point for Monica Rodriguez. On that day, she knew she wanted to be a nurse and realized there was a real need for her bilingual abilities.

Rodriguez will take a big step toward realizing that goal when she receives her nursing degree from Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs-Spring Valley at the May 7 pinning ceremonies. She is the youngest student in this year’s nursing class – her 22nd birthday is Thursday.

Rodriguez said she enrolled in Colorado Mountain College to be a radiology technician. But after her turning-point experience, that changed. Now, she is a qualified medical interpreter.



“I had to tell a Hispanic family that their loved one had just died, since I was the only one around to speak Spanish,” Rodriguez recalled. “It just made me realize that being able to do something like that, instead of having them use a translation phone, was something I wanted to do to really try to help people.”

Born to migrant workers in California and raised in Oregon, Rodriguez was married and moved to Colorado five years ago. She is currently the breadwinner in her family, working as a unit secretary at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs.



Her husband is a self-employed concrete worker, but hasn’t had many jobs due to the economic downturn. They have a 2-year-old son.

Rodriguez has worked at the hospital since 2008, and is a 2007 Glenwood Springs High School graduate.

Rodriguez credits the college’s nursing program with helping her develop critical thinking skills and for the chance to learn about various situations and responses.

“You have to work on things like preparing for different types of patient care,” she said. “You sit down and go over the care in different situations by doing case studies. All the clinical experiences were very helpful.”

While her sister is a nurse, Rodriguez said she didn’t see herself in that role before working at Valley View and seeing a need.

“You see all the things that nurses do and how they work together with other health care professionals to make a difference in the patients’ lives,” she said.


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