Tiara’s Story; The Journey of Becoming a Nurse

In 2001, Tiara Valentin’s grandmother had gotten sick and spent a lot of time in the hospital. “I never thought I would be in the medical field growing up,” said Tiara. It was when she was spending a lot of time with her grandmother in the hospital, who ended up being diagnosed with cancer, that Tiara realized she wanted to become a nurse. “The nurses that were taking care of my grandmother were almost robotic, there was limited interactions with our family, and they were strictly business. This is when I knew I wanted to be a nurse to show families the opposite of our experience and make families feel loved and do everything I can do to help them during a hard time.”

“The cards didn’t fall right for me to go to nursing school when I had planned, so I became a medical assistant in the meantime.” In 2010, Tiara began working for Columbia Orthopedics in the Division of Pediatrics. Two years later Tiara’s mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in September and passed away within a few months. “The nurses that were taking care of my mother were the exact opposite of what I experienced with grandmother, they really took care of my mom, they were amazing. I mean every second they were there to help my mother, hold her hand, check in on her and us. I knew that’s what I still wanted to do one day, be a nurse. After praying about it, I knew God was still calling me to become a nurse,” said Tiara.

It was in 2015, when Tiara had the opportunity to start nursing school.

The Department of Orthopedics played a huge part in my success of being able to work and go to school. I talked to providers and administrators in the practice, and they all said the same thing, if the schooling is important to me I need to do it and they will support me. It was a struggle and days were hard, but I graduated in April of 2021, got my license, and passed my tests in June of 2021.

“I love helping people and I have been able to show my daughter it doesn’t matter your age you can accomplish what you put your mind to. In my heart of hearts, our job as a nurse is to get patients from point A to B, they may just need a smiling face or someone to talk to them and give them hope." 

Starting in July 2021, Tiara now works as a nurse for the Division of Pediatric Orthopedics and plans on picking up some extra shifts in the hospital to work with cancer patients in honor of her grandmother and mother. "The providers, administrators and my colleagues were crucial in supporting my journey and I couldn't have done it without them."

The pediatric orthopedics team through a surprise congratulations party and luncheon for Tiara in honor of recently passing her boards. "We are all so proud of her and excited to see her grow in this new role," said Faranah Belgrave, Division Administrator for Pediatric Orthopedics.