In her home country of Colombia, Diana Munoz-Ali was a practicing dermatologist. She subsequently immigrated to the United States, and was of course well prepared to pursue her degree in nursing at North Carolina A&T, which she earned last December.
“This made me a better practitioner in general. I now have a broader understanding of the patients, so this was an outstanding experience,” she said. “I've learned the practical skills of nursing and other perspectives and approaches to healthcare.”
Because Munoz-Ali earned her medical degree and practiced in another country, she would have had to repeat her internship and residency to practice medicine in the United States. She and her husband considered what career path would make the most sense for her and their family, which includes two children.
“My husband asked me what was most important to me. For me, it has always been the patients,” she said. “My title is less important. I just want to help patients.”
For Munoz-Ali, the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing program was “simply perfect” because she would be able to re-enter healthcare as a professional with one year of concentrated, albeit intense study.
“Every year for nearly 10 years, I used to travel back to Colombia, and I would practice there,” she said. “I kept reading and remained intellectually active even as I made the decision to focus primarily on raising my kids.”
While the actual work of doctors and nurses are related, there are many differences, and Munoz-Ali says her time at A&T helped deepen her knowledge of the latest techniques and approaches in healthcare.
“Doctoring and nursing are truly different careers with different sets of skills and knowledge,” Munoz-Ali shared. “Learning the art and science of nursing has been a process of discovery and appreciation for me.”
In addition to new skills, she gained new friends and mentors who were her professors.
“I will miss my classmates and many of my professors, who were absolutely wonderful – innovative, energetic and deeply caring,” Munoz-Ali said. “We created a lovely cohort with many different kinds of experiences that we brought to the table.
Now that her nursing studies have been completed, Munoz-Ali plans to pursue additional education to become a nurse practitioner.