Nicole Rivera Rodriguez

Nicole Rivera-Rodríguez

Degrees

BS, BSN, RN

Hometown

Connecticut and Puerto Rico

NP Track at Penn

Family Nurse Practitioner
WHERE SHE’S COMING FROM

Rivera-Rodríguez didn’t have far to travel to be at Penn Nursing: she works at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), something she calls her proudest nursing accomplishment to date. She says, “It’s such a world-renowned institution, with people coming from all over to receive care. Being in that environment also exposes you to rare cases, as well as new research initiatives not seen anywhere else.” While Rivera-Rodríguez calls the Philadelphia area home now, she claims two other locations as her home states—Connecticut and Puerto Rico. It has been her ultimate goal since starting her nursing journey to give back to what she calls, “my island.”

SEEING THE WHOLE PERSON

“The biggest challenges in the field of nursing right now,” Rivera-Rodríguez says, “include providing holistic care and tailoring health care to the individual. Many times we forget that the patient in front of us is a person too. We get lost in the medicine and forget about things like social determinants of health and the invisible forces that limit our patients’ abilities to follow through with their plan of care.” She believes it is a nurse’s responsibility to see these obstacles and work around them to improve quality of life for their patients—and that’s how the nursing community can best tackle health crises. For her, seeing the whole person means going even further to find ways to connect to patients in a way that best serves their needs: using her language skills. She recalls working with a Spanish-speaking patient at a rehabilitation facility whose face “lit up” when Rivera-Rodríguez could converse with her in the language in which the patient was most comfortable. Rivera-Rodríguez says, “It was a great reminder of why I decided to go into this field in the first place. As nurses we are in such an advantageous position to get to know people beyond their illness.”

GOING WITH YOUR GUT

Rivera-Rodríguez believes the key to life is to stop doubting and going with her gut. She says, “This can be applied to anything, but in nursing when you get to know your patients and become their advocate, your gut is usually right.”

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