Carolina Uranga, M.S.N., B.S.N., R.N., A.G.C.N.S.-B.C., O.C.N., W.C.C., O.N.S., knew she wanted to be a nurse, so she decided to learn what it was like to work in a hospital. She started working as a secretary in City of Hope's Quality Risk and Regulatory Management.
While earning her degree at Pasadena City College, Uranga continued in clerical positions in the Office of Quality Risk and Regulatory Management and in the East Hospital as a unit clerk. After she earned her A.D.N., she began working in the East Hospital. “By the time I had my nursing degree, I knew many of the nurses and physicians on the unit,” she said. “I liked the people and the hustle and bustle of a medical/surgical unit, and I knew I just wanted to continue working here.”
Altogether, the journey started almost 25 years ago.
Uranga continued working at the bedside as she earned first her B.S.N. at California State University, Los Angeles, and then her master’s degree from Mount St. Mary’s College.
“Each time I went back to school, everyone here was very encouraging and supportive. My manager would allow me to do projects at work that integrated into my studies, and I was able to finish each in two years,” she said.
Then she continued her education, pursuing certifications in adult/gerontology, wound care and ostomy management. “I’ve always liked education and educating patients and nurses. I enjoy finding ways to make education fun,” she said.
Even as she pursued more skills, Uranga knew she wanted to stay at City of Hope. “I never felt the need to leave because I’ve always enjoyed the passion and caring of the people I work with,” she said. “New opportunities have always been available and my career has been a series of very interesting challenges.”
Uranga recently began a new role as a professional practice leader in geriatrics. She is excited about her new position training other nurses and developing programs that share the geriatric oncology nursing expertise of City of Hope.
The professional development, however, won’t stop.
“My mother was a nurse who came to the profession under much more challenging circumstances, including having to learn a second language,” said Uranga. “She set the bar pretty high. I feel lucky that I have had the chance to grow so much. I don’t think I’ll ever close the door on the prospect of learning something new.”