Carlos Vasco

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN program)

College: Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Carlos Vasco and his mom left Cuba for Miami when he was 16 years old to start a new life. He worked several jobs to become self-sufficient and ease the burden for his hard-working mom – his biggest inspiration. But Carlos wanted more than a job. He wanted to make a difference.

Carlos first trained as an ambulance paramedic, where he saw nurses in action and realized that he could do that, he would do that. He then pursued an associate degree and took a second job as a flight medic, transporting critical care patients across the globe.

Flying through the clouds, Carlos kept patients, and his dreams of becoming a nurse, alive. Studying at 30,000 feet while transporting an intubated patient from Ecuador to Canada isn’t a typical learning environment, but he was determined, and still wanted more.

In fall 2019, Carlos enrolled in FIU’s RN-to-BSN program and started as a nurse at a local hospital, first in the ER and then in the ICU. A few months later, he was not only treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients, but was one himself.

Although his battle with COVID-19 was brief, the impact was lasting. Carlos says he can provide better care because he knows what coronavirus patients are going through. He worked 16-hour shifts, six days a week, taking classes full-time, while standing alongside his patients as they fought the illness.  

Carlos still wants more. He will be applying his experience and passion in patient critical care to enroll in FIU’s nurse anesthesia program and one day become a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

By Mary Sudasassi
Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences

Nominated by Catharine Vale