Back to Episode # 12

Intro  00:00
Life After Now.


Liz Bolsoni  00:07
Hello, and welcome to the Life After Now podcast. I'm your host, Liz Bolsoni. I'm a communication studies major at St. Catherine University in St. Paul, Minnesota. This podcast is a place for young people like you to gather information about education, and think about what it means for your life after now. You'll be able to connect with inspirational guests who have first hand experience and expertise surrounding education in Minnesota. So today, I will be speaking with Yese Ruiz, a current nursing enrolled student at the Minnesota Dual-Training Pipeline program. She is here to share experience about the program and ways in which it transformed her life. Yese, thanks so much for joining me today.


Yese Ruiz  00:48
Thanks for having me. I'm so excited to be a part of this podcast. Thank you again for hosting this.


Liz Bolsoni  00:54
Awesome. Yeah, of course. So before we dive in, I want to ask a fun little icebreaker. If you were to give advice or words of affirmation to your high school self, what would you say?


Yese Ruiz  01:04
I would definitely say to not be so hard on my little high school self. I feel like I was always so mean to myself. And when you're in high school, you try so hard to be somebody that you're not. And now you know, at 22 years old, I'm seeing that doesn't matter at all. And you know, in high school, I feel like everybody's so scared to ask questions as well. And now, you know, being that I'm older than I was in high school, you see that asking questions really does help you get to the places that you need to be. And I would definitely tell myself, ask questions, because you don't know as much as you think you do.


Liz Bolsoni  01:41
That's great. I will take that to heart as well. To start, do you want to just tell us a little bit more about the Minnesota Dual-Training program? And what it is, how did you get involved? How did you hear about it?


Yese Ruiz  01:53
Yeah, so the Minnesota dual program, I'm actually enrolled in it at the C.A.R.E. Clinic here in Red Wing, Minnesota, and it is basically like, essentially, on the job training. So you're getting a bunch of experience while also being able to work in the field that you're interested in. So I was actually contacted by the executive director of the C.A.R.E Clinic, Julie Malyon. And I kind of knew her from people, and she also lives in my area. So she knew that I was interested in the healthcare field. And she knew that I had some experience working in it. I was a CNA, and a phlebotomist. And she knew that we needed a need for healthcare workers at her clinic and somebody that was also bilingual, because most of the people that come to the C.A.R.E. Clinic are Hispanic. So they noticed that they had a lot of trouble not having enough people to interpret a lot of the medical things that they needed to interpret to them. So yeah, that's how I got involved. And honestly, it's probably one of the best things I've ever done with my life, because I'm learning so much from it.


Liz Bolsoni  02:58
So you know, as you've been involved with the program, tell us about how it impacted your, your professional and your educational experience, but also maybe your personal life.


Yese Ruiz  03:09
So for sure, it's impacted my education a lot, because I see that, you know, I feel like I kind of have an advantage to other nursing students, because I'm working at a nonprofit clinic. And I'm kind of, I'm the clinical coordinator at the clinic. So it's kind of like running the clinic, and we all wear multiple hats. So, you know, you get to see firsthand how it's like to run a clinic. And then so that's really helped for my resumes and such. But personally, you can see firsthand how much healthcare is not available to a lot of people in the community. And a lot of our people in the community of Red Wing are the Hispanic population. And you can see that -- it's impacted me a lot, because there's so many people that don't have access to it just because they can't afford it, or you know, they don't have health insurance. So it's really impacted me in a great way to be able to know that I'm helping all these people in a positive way to be able to access healthcare.


Liz Bolsoni  04:05
Right. And as a part of the BIPOC community, how has the dual-training program brought you closer to your community, and also maybe the Red Wing community or your home community as a whole?


Yese Ruiz  04:16
Yeah, I feel like it's brought me closer, because as somebody who's able to speak Spanish with these patients, it brings us closer together, knowing that they can trust you as a person and they can come to you and not fear with anything. We don't do anything with immigration status, and we don't deny anybody. So I think that's really brought me closer and just the trust that the patients have with you knowing that they can come to you and ask for help if needed.


Liz Bolsoni  04:43
So as we're hearing from you, it's had a great impact on your personal life and your career choices. And a lot of people might be listening and be interested, or want to follow in your footsteps. So how would you talk about this program to other students? What would you say are the biggest benefits, and we're where do people start with this?


Yese Ruiz  05:03
Um, so for sure, the biggest benefits would be, you know, getting out there. And, you know, if you're interested in one of the fields that this program offers to have, you know, dual-training in, definitely take a look at the Minnesota Department of Higher Education on their site. They do have some links and offer some more information about the dual-training act, and then also a map of employers that would be nearby, wherever you live, wherever you want to locate yourself here in the state of Minnesota, whatever may interest you for your field. And you know, honestly, for me, one of the biggest parts was probably, you know, you get a grant to help pay for your education, you know, as a DACA recipient, you don't get FAFSA, you only can get scholarships, and like, through Minnesota DREAM Act from the state of Minnesota. So that was awesome to me. And not only do you get your school paid for partially, whatever, how many how much it ends up to be. But you also get to work and you know, get that hands on experience. And then also, you're working at the same time. So I think that's awesome, and a great experience.


Liz Bolsoni  06:12
Yeah, do you think that this program has opened doors for you in other parts of your life, or?


Yese Ruiz  06:17
Yeah. I think it has for sure. In my other jobs I've had, I've never really utilized my bilingual skills. So I feel like that's awesome, I'm able to use like, every single skill that I have. Personally, like, I just think it's awesome that not only can I do like all the hands on skills that I can do, but like, I'm able to use my bilingual skills with that too. And I feel also with all the volunteer nurses and doctors that come in, and especially we have a Tuesday night clinic, that they all come in and help. They all come from different specialties. So, you know, I know that one day I want to become a nurse practitioner. So that has been helping me kind of guide myself in seeing what kind of specialty or what area in the healthcare field I'd like to be in, whether that's gynecology, or surgical, things like that, that's really been helping me professionally.


Liz Bolsoni  07:13
So you told us a little bit about the nonprofit health clinic that you're working at? And why does working in a nonprofit environment appeal to you? What does that mean to you?


Yese Ruiz  07:21
I think it's really, you know, working before I worked as a CNA at a big hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, and you kind of just get that vibe like health administration, that everybody's just kind of there for the money. And working at a nonprofit clinic, you just know, and how everybody is so genuine there that they're there to actually help everybody. So I feel like being a part of this, I've felt like I have more empathy towards more people, and you really see what's really going on in the healthcare world.


Liz Bolsoni  07:53
So you've talked a little bit about your professional life and being a first generation college student, what have you learned about yourself?


Yese Ruiz  08:00
I've definitely learned that I need to be organized, for sure. You know, being a first generation college student, you know, I had to work as well. And being a first generation college student, your parents don't know, like, what you're doing, how much work you have to do. So I also had to set a lot of boundaries with my parents, because I was staying at home because I was just going to community college here in town. And I had to set a lot of boundaries to have them know, like, I have a lot of work to do. This is like really important to me. And you know, in high school, my parents were like, "Do whatever you want, whatever makes you happy." You don't have to go to college, but I feel like I was really the only motivation to like go to college, because they were like, "You can do whatever you can do this and that," I'm like, "Well, I kind of want to be a nurse." And they were like, "Okay, whatever you want to do." So I feel like I really had to push myself and ask myself those questions. And, you know, I feel like it was kind of lonely at first, but now I feel like I'm on top of the world.


Liz Bolsoni  08:58
That's awesome. So what advice would you give to high school students who are interested in learning more about the dual-training program?


Yese Ruiz  09:06
Yeah. I would say do some research and see what you're interested in. And if you're interested in this program, definitely look it up and see what kind of employers are near you. It's a great opportunity. And you get a lot of hands on training. And being a part of this program is really, I think it looks really good to other employers as well that they see this is really unique that you get hands on training while you're also working. So I think do the research, work hard, and you'll get to where you want to be someday.


Liz Bolsoni  09:37
Would you say that the dual-training program helped you find your passion?


Yese Ruiz  09:42
I would say it did. I feel like I knew that I wanted to do nursing and being a part of the dual pipeline program really helped me secure, that that's what I really wanted to do. I feel like I was so on the fence, especially coming out of high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do. A lot like a lot of people. But I was just like all over the place, I think. I at first wanted to be like a hairdresser. And then I wanted to be like a radiologist. And then I was like, I want to be a physician's assistant. And then I realized how much nursing is pretty flexible, and you can pretty much do anything with it. And then also, while working at this nonprofit clinic, I realized like how much I really do care about people and how much I like helping people. So I feel like it's really helped me secure and really finalize my career.


Liz Bolsoni  10:35
Now that we know a little bit more about the details in getting involved or finding your passion through the dual-training program, do you have any fun stories or memories that you want to share with audience?


Yese Ruiz  10:48
Sure, for sure. So being a clinical coordinator, I'm all over the place, in the clinic and everyone in the clinic wears multiple hats. For example, at our clinic, we have dental, mental health, and medical, and we're even doing -- so like the story I want to share is I helped to start a campaign for the COVID vaccine that the C.A.R.E. Clinic. So we set up Immunity for Community, but we set it in Spanish. So we could kind of tell the Hispanic population like, "Hey, it's important to get the COVID vaccine," because there was a lot of misunderstanding and not enough education within the community. So being able to, you know, make little fun videos, and we made a whole Facebook page about you know, it's important to get this vaccine because, especially like in immigrant families, and so and so you know, people come to the United States, and they know that they're here to work. So you know, somebody gets COVID, and they're out for 14 days, that's a really hard thing on their family. And financially, they just can't do that. So we made it a thing, especially for like our agriculture workers that come to the clinic, like this is important. We'd rather have you be out like a day out of work instead of 14 days because you had COVID. So it was really fun making this whole campaign and spreading awareness about the vaccine, and we actually had a couple vaccine clinics -- we're actually ending it up here and just having it become walk-in -- but I want to say like most of the community, especially the Hispanic population, we actually talked into getting the vaccine. They're all really happy that they got the vaccine. So it's really nice to be able to share knowledge to these people that wouldn't know it firsthand.


Liz Bolsoni  12:35
Wow, that's that's really important work. Thank you.


Yese Ruiz  12:38
Thank you.


Liz Bolsoni  12:39
Yeah, so does Immunity for the Community, does it rhyme in Spanish?


Yese Ruiz  12:45
Yeah, it's a Inmunidad para mi Comunidad. So we were like.


Liz Bolsoni  12:48
Oh, wonderful.


Yese Ruiz  12:48
We were like, "Oh my gosh, what do we say to like, make it rhyme?" And so then we were like, "Oh, finally." So yeah.


Liz Bolsoni  12:51


Yese Ruiz  12:55
Yeah, we were like, it was like so fun. We were literally like producers. Like at this nonprofit clinic. We were trying to like -- I remember we did like a Zoom call with a videographer. And we had like a lamp next to somebody, so we could like try and have better lighting. It was so, it was bad. But we tried our best. And hey, everyone, almost everyone came and got their COVID vaccines. So it worked.


Liz Bolsoni  13:21
You know, you talked a little bit about being bilingual and how it was such a useful skill in the career that you're in right now. A lot of our students listening are BIPOC as well and maybe bilingual or speak multiple languages. So what advice do you have to multilingual students that are listening in right now?


Yese Ruiz  13:40
I would definitely say use your language skills to your advantage. It's, I think it's such a great skill to have because, for example, people come into our clinic not knowing a word of English. And I think it's so important for them and for you as a provider or you know, an employee of the wherever you're wanting to work, that you're able to communicate with somebody and give them the best service possible. And also, don't be embarrassed about speaking multiple languages. I think I, personally, was almost embarrassed like a couple years ago because I spoke another language. So don't be embarrassed and use all the languages that you know to your advantage. I really want to learn more languages, but I don't know if I would be very good at it.


Liz Bolsoni  14:26
So coming out of this pandemic, you know, you have about a year left with this program and you've had some amazing experiences that you've told us about. So what is your hope for yourself for the future? And what do you hope as you finish up the dual-training program, what are you looking forward to?


Yese Ruiz  14:44
I'm looking forward to, you know, being a nurse one day hopefully soon. You know, I'm being able to utilize those actual skills as an artist and utilizing all the skills that I've received from this dual pipeline program. I feel like I've grown really learned a lot. And coming from such a supportive program and also such a supporting nonprofit clinic that I'm at, I think that it really will set me up to be a good nurse. Like that sounds so like, "Pick me," but I feel like I'm just really excited. I feel like I'm ready. And I think I'd be able to give all the patients that I encounter the best care knowing that I've been having pretty good experiences and just being able to be hands-on with patients.


Liz Bolsoni  15:28
So we're going to wrap up with a last question here. And this podcast is called Life After Now, right? Life after now, his life after a worldwide pandemic. It's after a year of broadcast racial injustice. Life after a year where we didn't know what the political or social environment was going to be like the next day. So I want to know, what advice do you have to students in Minnesota right now, who have gone through a lot in the past year and want to pursue an education after high school?


Yese Ruiz  16:03
Yeah, I would say definitely, first, we need to kind of really be aware of what we've all been through in the past year, and just know that you know, that it was a like, very rough year. And I think we all need to, you know, slowly we'll be going back into a little bit of a normal life. But I think we also need to know that, you know, the life that was normal before probably wasn't the best. And if we can go into a better normal, knowing that, you know, mental health, and you know, there was a global pandemic, and social and racial injustices and knowing that, you know, we need to take all these things into consideration, and everybody has their own story. And you know, it's not just about, you know, you're not the only one living in the world. So you really need to be aware about everybody and just try and be the best person that you can be so that maybe it can influence others to become a better society after all this, that what we've gone through over the past year.


Liz Bolsoni  17:04
So thank you so much for joining us today and sharing a little bit about your experience with the Minnesota dual-training program, and the impact it's had on your life.


Yese Ruiz  17:13
Thank you so much for having me, Liz. I'm so excited for this.


Liz Bolsoni  17:16
Awesome. I also want to give a quick shout out to our listeners. Thank you so much for spending some time with us today. This podcast was brought to you by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. I encourage you to dig into the resources we mentioned in this episode, which you can find in the show notes on our website at Don't forget to follow this podcast on Apple, Spotify, Google Play or wherever you listen to your podcasts, so you don't miss any future episodes. Until next time, everyone. I'm Liz Bolsoni. Stay well, stay hopeful, and stay ready because you all are the future.

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