Elio Perez

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing

College/School: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Elio Perez was destined for a life of service to others. With a stronger interest in his high school JROTC program than his classes, he chose to forgo his senior year, instead obtaining his GED and enlisting in the U.S. Army.

Elio was preparing to serve a 14-month tour in Iraq as a paratrooper in the 173rd Airborne Brigade when he was selected to also receive emergency medical training to fill in for a medic. As fate would have it, he discovered a love for emergency medicine that would shape the rest of his career.

He completed his tour of duty in May 2004 and subsequently enrolled in the Miami-Dade fire academy to become a paramedic, complete with a registered nurse license. But even as a paramedic, he longed for a more holistic understanding of emergency medicine. Elio determined nursing would provide the comprehensive background required in this field and enrolled in FIU’s online RN-BSN program.

Elio is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in nursing as he approaches his 12th year as a first responder with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. He plans to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice at FIU to specialize as an advanced practice registered nurse in psychiatric-mental health. He hopes to combine his military experience with a hands-on education in mental health to care for and support fellow veterans. 

By Catharine Vale
RN-BSN Program Coordinator