Degree: Doctor of Nursing Practice - Psychiatric-Mental Health Specialty
College: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences
Ernesto Sarduy’s vision of becoming a nurse became clear the moment he thanked hospital nurses for taking meticulous care of his ailing grandmother. That vision became a mission one fateful day in 2010, serving as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps in Afghanistan. He and his troop were on patrol when their truck hit an explosive device, severely injuring two of his closest friends. In that moment, Ernesto remembered the nurses in his grandmother’s hospital room who comforted her suffering, and he determined to do the same for others.
Ernesto overcame his military-related trauma and started on a path as a nurse practitioner in veterans mental health. Having obtained a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Ernesto worked as a registered nurse at the Miami VA Medical Center while simultaneously enrolled in FIU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program specializing in psychiatric-mental health. Ernesto has been caring for veterans with trauma and mental illness at the Miami VA for the past three years, and is the first psychiatric nurse practitioner resident in the history of the Miami VA.
More recently, as the COVID-19 pandemic increased the risk for suicide in veterans, Ernesto conducted a clinical project at the VA to develop a new protocol for the care of veterans who test positive for suicidal ideations using an algorithm he also created.
Ernesto plans to continue his work at the Miami VA after graduation to improve mental health outcomes and well-being for veterans.
By Emily Winston
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences