Year of the Nurse Scholarship Recipient
Arturo Freyre’s entry to college was bumpy to say the least.
The son of an engineer who grew up moving all around the world, Arturo graduated high school in Georgia and headed to Loyola University in New Orleans. “I struggled right away and dropped out after one year,” says Arturo. He moved back to San Antonio, where his mom lived, and started taking classes at the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA). One semester before graduating with a degree in business, Arturo had an epiphany. Business was not for him.
His intent to switch majors led to a mix-up at the registrar’s office, and Arturo unintentionally disenrolled from UTSA. To keep moving, he applied to Our Lady of the Lake University, a small private school in San Antonio. “I switched majors to psychology and I fell in love,” he says. Arturo continued on for a master’s in counseling psychology at Loyola, where it had all begun. He finished his studies in 2009.
Arturo started his postgraduate career as a behavioral therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital in San Antonio. Eventually, he shifted to a psychotherapy private practice, working with bariatric patients, both pre- and post-surgery.
“I realized that therapists work so hard with patients on their mental health but have little understanding of the physical side of their health,” he says. That gap in knowledge was one Arturo wanted to close, and in 2017, he made the decision to return to school for the ADN.
A career change and a life change
As he started nursing school, Arturo also started a new job as a therapist at Ikare, an integrated psychiatric medicine clinic. Shortly after that in March 2018, he and his wife became foster parents to three children who are siblings. And after passing the NCLEX in December 2018 and becoming an RN, he took on the nursing role at Ikare as well.
“My job is very unique there and I absolutely love it,” Arturo says. Despite his happiness with work, he wanted more, and began planning his next goal: getting the psychiatric Nurse Practitioner degree. First, however, Arturo needed to earn a BSN.
American Sentinel University SIMPath®
Arturo and a nurse friend have the same psychiatric NP end goal, and together found American Sentinel University’s SIMPath BSN® program, which allows students to complete competencies, not classes, at their own pace. “It was perfect, because this isn’t where I’m stopping,” he says. “If you are someone who is self-motivated, you can move as quickly through the program as you want to,” he says. Arturo started the BSN in summer 2020 and plans to finish by early 2021. Then, he’ll start the MSN Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program.
Year of the Nurse Scholarship
When Arturo learned he had received the Year of the Nurse Scholarship in fall 2020, the feeling was that of affirmation. “It encouraged me,” he says. “It made me feel like I’m going in the right direction and the effort to do this is paying off.” It is the first scholarship he has ever received, Arturo adds, making it that much more meaningful. “I’m so very honored that American Sentinel sees the value of the work I’m doing. It means so much.”
The dream: Start a nonprofit for intellectual disabilities
When Arturo graduates in 2022, he and his wife, a special education teacher, want to start a nonprofit that offers psychiatric services to children and adults with intellectual disabilities. “It’s an area that is seriously lacking,” he says. “I want to create something that benefits the community and gives them a way to enjoy their lives and have as much normalcy as possible.” In August 2020, Arturo and his wife became foster parents again and are currently in the process of adopting the baby boy and baby girl in their care. “Helping children get the love and care they need is something we believe in deeply.”
His busy life simply wouldn’t allow pursuing his educational dreams in a traditional setting, Arturo says, so he’s grateful for the SIMPath program. “American Sentinel’s SIMPath BSN has been great,” he says. “And the best part is, it’s made this pursuit a possibility and a reality for me.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel is celebrating by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Several scholarships are awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to this quarter’s recipients. Learn more and apply here.
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