IU senior Mark Casanova said he would never forget when he realized the meaning of being a nurse.
He was in nursing school, observing a cesarean section during his junior year.
He saw the doctor remove not one, but two babies from the mother that day, and it opened his eyes to the effect he could have on patients and the world. Casanova said he remembered the mother's ecstatic face while holding her twin girls.
He decided to start in a medical-surgical unit after graduation.
IU-Bloomington's first Latino male nurse, Casanova will graduate in May from the School of Nursing. He’s glad he’ll be able to serve as an example for other students of color, he said.
Casanova said nursing attracted him because it allowed him to get to know people as well as gain medical knowledge.
Ever since he was a kid he wanted to do something medical, but Casanova said he wanted to be a nurse since his sophomore year of high school. Working in hospitals, which is part of nursing school, has only strengthened his desire to become one.
Helping patients in hospice care showed him what he called the hard part of nursing, Casanova said. His patients were going to die, and he knew that. All he could do was make them comfortable.
“All I could do is provide palliative care and sit next to them and hold their hand,” he said. “The littlest action I can do to provide them any type of comfort or assistance, it goes a long way.”
Maricela Casanova, Mark’s mother, said she is proud of him, both because of how responsible he is and how studious he was.
“He is an example for all of our kids, for his sister and for me as his mother,” Maricela Casanova said. “He has always achieved what he wants to do.”
She said she doesn’t have a single favorite memory of him. Instead, any time she spends with him becomes her favorite because of how special he makes her feel.
“He is the kind of person that has always made me feel very important and proud,” Maricela Casanova said.
Casanova said being the first Latino male nurse to graduate from the IU School of Nursing is a story he will share with his kids.
“I’ll be able to tell them that their dad was able to accomplish this,” Mark Casanova said.
Her son has always been sensitive and cared for his friends and family, so him becoming a nurse isn’t surprising to her, Maricela Casanova said.
“He has a huge heart,” Maricela Casanova said.
Mark Casanova said he hopes his story will help inspire other people of color to not let anything stop their dreams.
Grace Ybarra contributed translation for this article.
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to reflect that Casanova will be IU-Bloomington's first Latino male nurse.