Frank Baez Started as a Janitor at NYU. This Year, He Graduated With a Nursing Degree

Lead Photo: Photo by Peerawat Kamklay / Moment
Photo by Peerawat Kamklay / Moment
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When Frank Baez came to New York from the Dominican Republic more than a decade ago, he began working as a janitor at New York University’s Langone Tisch Hospital. This year, he graduated from this same school with a nursing degree.

“I could barely speak English at the time when I started working at NYU,” he said, according to ABC News. “Now, I reflect on it, and I feel very proud of how much I accomplished.”

He worked as a housekeeper and cleaned patient rooms, bathrooms, and hallways at the hospital to support his family. Along the way, he became interested in nursing. “While working [at NYU] with the nurses, I realized 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.”

So he applied for a position as a patient transporter – that is, taking patients from their rooms to operating rooms or to get tests. When he left the hospital, he attended Hunter College to receive his bachelor’s degree. The nurses he interacted with on a regular basis encouraged him to apply to NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing’s accelerated program, so he could graduate in 15 months.

Baez said he’s never been an A student, but studying and working hard helped him achieve his goals.

“Of course, there were times I doubted myself, but then I felt that I wanted to do something more for myself…” he said. “What I did was, I never gave up.”