People of Georgian: Nursing student finds purpose in caring for others  
August 05, 2022

What’s your story?

The Georgian community is full of unique, inspiring perspectives —and we’re sharing them as part of an ongoing series.

People of Georgian: Meet Norma Esquivel Hernandez

I started taking care of family members when they were really ill, and then I knew that nursing was my path.

A person with long black hair and a white-and-grey tank top leans against the back of a couch with their head on near a grey cat that's lying across the top of the couch.
Norma with Tortilla, one of her two cats.

I took care of my grandfather, who had dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

It was very hard for me to realize that he was not mentally here completely and to see him like that. It’s like he’s disappearing a little bit in front of your eyes.

Back then, I didn’t know what Alzheimer’s was or how to take care of people like that.

Then I started researching it on my own so I could be better at caring for him, and I noticed it was so rewarding because I’m doing something to make somebody’s life better.

It gave me a sense of purpose.

Helping vulnerable populations ‘motivated me to pursue nursing as a career’

After that, I started volunteering with different populations back home in Mexico.

I went to the streets and fed homeless people. I went to orphanages.

In Mexico, we don’t have long-term care facilities like in Canada. Instead, there are facilities for very low-income people who are supported by donations. These facilities have everyone from newborns to the elderly.

I was there helping out, getting them something to eat, gathering blankets, getting some money for them.

Just those little things motivated me to pursue nursing as a career.

I knew that every time I was holding a baby, for example, I was probably the one person that might be comforting him for the day.

Norma Esquivel Hernandez

And that makes me feel like I have something to do in this life. It really is rewarding.

I never got the chance to pursue nursing when I was younger because I come from a very humble family with low income.

When I got a bit older, I saved some money and immigrated to Canada.

Two people dressed in nursing scrubs and face masks, take a selfie together.
Norma, right, with friend and co-worker, Leah.

Now I’m at Georgian, and I’ve been receiving lots of support. I have experience with my clinical placements, and now I’m in a long-term care facility working as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) with people of different ages.

When I was trying to choose where I wanted to go for studying, I went to different universities and colleges, but when I stepped through Georgian’s door I was just like, “Yes, this is the one I wanted.”

Nobody really cared more than Georgian. They’re like, ‘You can do this.’

Norma Esquivel Hernandez

I was so afraid of many things, like I’m so old, or the language barrier. They gave me motivation and courage – and, well, I’m still here.

Seven people in nursing scrubs and face masks pose together for a photo at a front desk, with two of them sitting in chairs behind the desk.
Norma with a group of PSWs she works with in long-term care.

I always remind myself: even if I’m afraid to do something, I still do it. I have butterflies in my stomach, but I’ll do it anyways.

After I’m done it, I figure that it was the best decision. Even it was a struggle or I failed, I learned something from it and that makes me better over time.

‘Everything that I struggled for was not unnoticed and it’s all paid off’

And now, fingers crossed, next year I can become a nurse officially.

It will mean that everything that I’ve done, everything that I struggled for, was not unnoticed and it’s all paid off. It will be a dream come true.

Norma Esquivel Hernandez, a student in Georgian’s Practical Nursing program at our Owen Sound Campus.