Cecilia Pimentel ‘16, a pediatric nurse at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, used to insist that she’d never do pediatrics. “I didn’t have a lot of experience with kids so I didn’t think I was ready for it or that I’d be good at it,” she explains. So when a nurse mentor cautioned her to not feel bad if a particular shy patient didn’t want to talk to her, Pimentel got scared when asked “How long have you been doing this?” She asked what she was doing wrong, but instead was complimented on her work. Pimentel now looks back on that experience as one that enabled her to trust her instincts.
Pimentel’s desire to be a nurse was solidified at the Mount. “The work in the clinical side was fantastic,” she says. “The instructors push to get their students a full experience. Everything about being a student at the Mount empowered me--the different organizations, the emphasis on women’s leadership, the conferences, the networking. I left with a lot of confidence.”
COVID-19 hasn’t made a major impact in her work except that she’s seeing fewer patients. “It’s my responsibility to lower their stress,” she says of the parents. “We urge them to not delay their kids’ checkups or vaccination schedules, that there are still things that need to get done and that it’s safe to bring their kids in. Our job is to educate. It’s their decision, but we do our due diligence. Parents depend on us to be their advocate.”
Pimentel ultimately plans to become a family nurse practitioner to work in an outpatient setting where she can help people manage their well-being and overall health. But she realizes that life has a way of changing course.