Hard times often bring about the most clarity. For Angel Mote, an unexpected and life-threatening illness shook up his world in more ways than one.
“When I was 17, I had a spontaneous pneumothorax. It was physically and emotionally draining and the most depressing time of my life,” he said. “I was in the hospital for three months.”
Even though it was a tough time, he found a silver lining in a charge nurse who helped him through the long days of pain and road to recovery. She became his shoulder to lean on and an inspiration.
“Whenever they would have to do a procedure like pull out a chest tube or reinsert one, which hurts horribly, she would always come to the room and let me squeeze her hand,” he said. “Just that extra act to make me feel like I wasn't dealing with it alone inspired me to pursue nursing as a major.”
Now in his junior year, the Bronx, New York, native is fully immersed in the clinical experience of the nursing program. Although he concedes the emotional demands of the program can sometimes be taxing, he is committed to earning his degree, because he has been on the receiving end of care and knows the difference that a dedicated nursing professional can make.
“I want to be able to do the same thing for other people that [my nurse] did for me. I want to make people feel safe and comfortable in their most vulnerable and depressing state,” he said. “If I can graduate and be able to make an impact on someone’s life, that would be rewarding for me.”
In addition to his own medical crisis, Mote struggled through the cancer diagnosis of his grandmother and two uncles. Those were difficult times, but they solidified his passion to work in oncology, as well as pediatrics.
“No matter what, I want to be diverse in whatever I work in. I want to make sure I can handle any part of the field and not fall apart,” he adds.
Mote doesn't waste energy worrying about dated stereotypes regarding males in the nursing profession. On those rare occasions when he hears critical remarks, he channels them into motivation for becoming the best nurse he can be for every patient.
“Usually when I tell people that I want to be a nurse, they look at me with a look of confusion and ask why not become a doctor,” he said. “If a male wants to be a nurse, he should be supported and appreciated because he’s trying to give back and help. That should be more important than the sex of the person doing the job.”
“I feel like I was born to do this,” he said. “The emotional attachments motivate me to continue to move forward in the field. When my patients say I brighten their day and that I’m treating them well, it feels good. Just being able to help people makes it all worthwhile.”