Education

North Salem Student Has a Passion For Pediatrics

114243e5b6a8622a6511_DSC_0403.JPG
Nicole Mendoza talks about her pediatrics internship. Credits: Photo: Sue Guzman
960fbee7f5c659298986_DSC_0409.JPG
Nicole Mendoza during her O.P.T.I.O.N.S. presentation Credits: Photo: Sue Guzman
114243e5b6a8622a6511_DSC_0403.JPG
(NORTH SALEM, N.Y.)-- Nicole Mendoza knew what she wanted from the get go. Ever since she was little, pediatric nursing has been a passion of hers, so when it came time to select her internship for the school’s O.P.T.I.O.N.S. program, it was a no brainer. “I have a little brother and a little cousin at home and I’ve always enjoyed spending time with them. At church I’m a teacher too. So I get a lot of one on one time with them and I find it easy to be with children,” she said. After recently obtaining her CNA certificate (Certified Nursing Assistant) she opted to intern with a local pediatrician to get a taste of what it’s like to work in a doctor’s office. The internship placement came through Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES and she was placed with Tomahawk Pediatrics in Yorktown. Mendoza’s internship required a lot of juggling. While she was participating in the program, she would spend mornings at BOCES in Yorktown from 8 to 10 a.m., and then travel to North Salem where she would return for chemistry class, and then back to BOCES again. While she said it was challenging traveling back and forth, coupled with the fact that she does not drive, Mendoza said it was worth it to get the experience. While working at the pediatrician’s office, she worked under a Licensed Practical Nurse who served as her mentor and who taught her such valuable things as infection control and the importance of wearing gowns and masks to ensure patient safety. Mendoza says she also learned a lot about vaccine administration during her tenure there. She said a good nurse needs to have certain qualities, including patience and caring, something that’s necessary when dealing with very young patients, who will often “cry and kick and scream and bite because they are scared.” Nursing also requires good interpersonal skills, she said, as well as empathy and good communication skills in order to be an effective liaison between the doctor and the child’s parent. “You’re always talking to the parents of the patient and the doctor,” Mendoza said. “And parents will always have questions. There’s not a single parent who doesn’t have questions, so it’s important to be a good listener.” The North Salem High School student said working in a doctor’s office presented its daily challenges. “It’s not always easy to be in the healthcare field. Although one person may have a worse case than another, you have to put each one on the same level of importance,” Mendoza said. The high school student walked away with another set of skills that included taking vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate, weight and temperature and learned how to properly monitor infants’ growth as well as medication administration and safety precautions for that. She also volunteered at Somers Manor, a rehabilitation and nursing center, where she helped helped to feed, bathe and offer companionship to the elderly residents a few times a week. “They were really happy to have the company and were glad to see us every time,” said Mendoza. “We were able to give them time that not many other people would have time to give them.” In addition to working with a pediatrician’s office and at Somers Manor, Mendoza also took part in a medical assistant program in conjunction with Syracuse University. She explained that she had recently participated in a nationwide competition program designed to rate participants on their skills, and placed fourth in the state as a medical assistant. She is also currently a volunteer at Putnam Hospital Center and the Fieldhome [a rehab and nursing center in Cortlandt Manor], something she plans to continue with. “That also helped me out a lot,” she said. “To realize that this is something I want to keep doing.” Moving forward, Mendoza says she plans to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and eventually a Registered Nurse. She credits her O.P.T.I.O.N.S. internship with helping her in her next step. “After this experience I knew I wanted to continue with pediatrics and that I do want to become a nurse. It’s rewarding and fun.” she said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Salem

Upcoming Events

Mon, April 30

North Salem Tax Office, North Salem

A Reminder From The North Salem Tax Office

Business & Finance Government

Sat, May 19, 10:00 AM

FDR State Park, Yorktown Heights

BluePath Service Dogs 2nd Annual Walkathon

Giving Back

Sun, May 20

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park , Yorktown Heights

2nd Annual Northwell Health Walk at Westchester

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back Health & Wellness

The power of less productivity

Many of the people I meet are trying to do too much. This can be in the domain of home, work or community groups. Often the problem is that these people volunteer to help but do so to their own detriment and then become overwhelmed and ineffective. I have clients who volunteer to join committees, run errands, do someone else’s job or say they will show up for an event when they should just ...

Time to Crank It Up!

It’s easy to get upset these days for any number of reasons. Still, hope springs eternal (even when we’ve given up hope of seeing spring). We live in a time of such grace and deference toward each other that a wimpy word like snowflake is the toughest insult that bullies can muster.  

We’ve all heard of the Bully Pulpit. That’s when somebody uses his leverage ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Closet Case

Not too long ago, if you said you had a room the size of a closet, it meant the space was probably pretty darn small. These days, however, it’s not uncommon to have a closet the size of a living room, with more sliding drawers, revolving racks and custom shoe trees than Barney’s or Bloomies or Kim Kardashian. So nowadays, if you tell someone you have a room the size of a closet, the ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...