Guadalupe Martinez-Cruz - J. Andrew Crane, M.D. Scholarship
, August 20, 2008
Guadalupe Martinez-Cruz may have a long name, but she is certainly no snob. In her day-to-day life she goes by Lupita, and the diminutive is very indicative of her friendly and approachable personality. “It’s like calling Michael, Mike,” she says.
Lupita earned her A.S .in nursing from PUC in 2004 and has returned for her B.S.N., which she looks forward to completing in June, 2008. As a Catholic, she chose PUC merely for academic reasons, unlike the majority of the student body, who usually take the Adventist aspect into consideration. “PUC had a better structure and program [than Sonoma] so I decided to go there.” Still, she has had a positive religious experience during her time here, and she credits PUC with making her feel welcome. “Everyone was very open-minded. Even in religion classes, they were always open to what I had to say.” Her positive experiences with these other areas of PUC have helped her focus fully on her studies.
Medicine has been of interest to Lupita since childhood. “My family has a lot of doctors and nurses, and I always liked the medical field,” she says. She remembers being on vacation with her family as a child and driving by an accident on the highway. A tour bus had rolled over, and because of their medical background, her parents stopped to help and got everyone out safely. “After seeing my family’s devotion to this job, I thought that this was something I wanted to do, too.” As she started in the nursing program, however, she still wasn’t sure if this was her true medical calling. But it only took her first hospital rotation to realize that she did, in fact, want to be a nurse. “The patients’ gratitude made me feel really good… and I really enjoy helping other people,” she says. Also, since Spanish is her first language, she admits to feeling a special bond with her fellow Spanish-speaking patients. “I enjoy bridging the gap in communication between the doctors and these patients.”
Her devotion to her patients and passion for her studies paid off quite literally last year, when Lupita was chosen as a recipient of the J. Andrew Crane, M.D. Scholarship. She feels like this help couldn’t have come at a better time. “I go to school and I work full time. I pay my own bills, I live on my own and I’ve been taking a full load each quarter. Having the scholarship has been great because it’s given me the chance to do a little bit less work and more studying, and in the process, I’ve enjoyed my studies more because this huge stress has been lifted.”
Lupita is a natural nurturer, something that has translated well into her chosen profession. However, her inherent need to help others is not limited to her job. In her spare time, she has volunteered her services to teaching young children the traditional Mexican dances she studied herself as a teenager in Mexico. She also does Relay for Life in Calistoga, an annual fund-raising walk for cancer, and she has done the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in honor of her favorite nursing professor, Damian Doherty, who passed away in 2005. “She was diagnosed with breast cancer but she decided not to tell us because we were so stressed. She was going through this tough time and she still had so much concern for us,” Lupita remembers.
Between her studies, her job, and her extra-curricular activities, Lupita’s interests seem to revolve around service to others. Still, there isn’t a single complaining note in her tone as she describes her overly busy schedule. “This is what I enjoy doing,” she says, and if she happens to miss out on some much-needed sleep in this pursuit, she doesn’t deem it necessary to mention.