Some people may see moving from the Marine Corps to a labor and delivery unit as an unlikely career transition. But for Luis Figueroa, RN, it made perfect sense.
When Luis left the Marine Corps after seven years, he worked for a while before entering college as he was unsure what to study. Once he enrolled, a conversation with a school nurse sparked his interest in the field.
Luis immediately found strong parallels between military service and nursing. He describes it as having a respected profession, not just a career.
“I realized that there is a sense of service, like I got in the Marine Corps,” Luis says.
The fast-paced, exciting environment of the emergency department first attracted his attention. For a while, he also considered orthopedics. In the end, labor and delivery surprisingly turned out to be the best fit.
The turning point came after an instructor pulled Luis aside and said he’d be good at midwifery or delivery.
“That gave me the confidence to feel pride and go for it,” he explains. “And if it didn’t work, the positive of nursing is you can try another specialty.”
Three and a half years later, Luis is still helping deliver babies at Bon Secours St. Francis Medical Center.
Bringing families together
What Luis enjoys most about being a labor and delivery nurse is the people.
“I really enjoy getting to know the patients, learning their stories and about their birth plan” says Luis. “And in the end, introducing them to their brand-new baby is an exciting part.”
An advantage Luis brings to his role is understanding what fathers are going through. He makes a point of getting to know the partner, explains to them what is happening and answers any questions. Luis feels while it is important to focus on the mother, it is also important to bring both parents into the process.
“In the grand scheme of things, we’re bringing a family together,” he says. “I don’t see why we shouldn’t involve everyone in their support system.”
The right career
Many people find themselves counting the minutes until they can clock out at work each day. Luis is not one of them.
“I wanted to get into a career where I’m happy to go to work,” he says. “Being at St. Francis, I get excited to go to work and see what the day brings.”
Luis encourages more men to consider the nursing profession as well. There are so many possibilities within field including leadership, research, bedside care, rehabilitation, and more.
“It’s a good way to provide for your family,” Luis points out. “We could always use more help too.”