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TODAY news for Thursday, September 24, 2004

School of Nursing news

Sofia Puerto recognized by nursing association

Sofia Puerto, PhD, MPH, CCRN, FNP, has received the Mentoring Award from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

The citation reads as follows: “Working in a geographical area where the Hispanic population predominates, but nursing representation is minimal, poses a challenge for educators of Hispanic background to serve as role models, mentors, and to participants in the recruitment and retention process.”

Dr. Puerto has a passion for mentoring students, especially those of under-represented groups, and those that have learning barriers. She participated as a mentor in a program funded by NIH—Student Learning Individualized Pathway Program (SLIPP).

One of the main goals of the project was to look at barriers that promote or detract learning in students from under-represented backgrounds, and to provide the means to overcome those barriers. Last June, the third class graduated and she often expresses her joy at the fact that these students are passing boards on their first try and are performing well in their jobs.

“Nothing brings more satisfaction to a teacher than to see her students succeed,” she says. Another positive outcome of the project was the approval for a bridge program that provides extra classes, mentoring, and some financial aid to students that otherwise would not have a chance to enter the nursing profession.

Dr. Puerto is well known for participating in numerous voluntary efforts in the community, and has recruited and mentored more than 60 nursing students. Thanks to her encouragement, many of them have gone on to higher education and now hold leadership and managerial positions.

One trait that her colleagues admire in Dr. Puerto is her ability to identify and nurture the potential of individuals. She does not give up easily until she sees success. She facilitates the preceptees’ transition to their new role and assists them in identifying their learning needs and resources to accomplish their goals.

As one of the leaders of AACN she is active in mentoring new members to become future leaders. She reviews the process and provides the necessary assistance to promote self-development and confidence in those that are taking on new roles.

Dr. Puerto is described by her colleagues not only as a teacher, but also as a true mentor, leader, and friend.

TODAY news for Thursday, September 24, 2004