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Patricia Acevedo’s Inspiring Journey: Overcoming Adversity to Achieve Nursing Dreams

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DOVER — Each May, National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and culminates on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, considered the mother of modern nursing. This week is celebrated worldwide to honor the invaluable contributions of nurses everywhere.

Patricia Acevedo

Seton Hall’s College of Nursing is renowned for excellently preparing future healthcare professionals. Patricia Acevedo ’21, an Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program graduate, is among the many distinguished nurses nurtured at Seton Hall.

Acevedo’s story began in the suburbs of Mexico City, where she and her sister were raised by their grandmother, who worked in a hospital kitchen, and her uncle, a cook. Her early ambitions ranged from attending a prestigious Mexican university to becoming a mechanical engineer and a professional woman. However, her journey into motherhood and prevailing cultural beliefs about female education at the time sidetracked her plans.

At 19, Acevedo moved to Dover, but unexpected circumstances led her back to Mexico. She made the difficult decision to return to Dover without her children to pursue her education and make them proud.

Feeling as though God had given her a second chance, Acevedo landed her first job as a staff nurse at a local hospital. “I saw the work of nurses who inspired me to become one. They reminded me of my grandmother,” she recalled. She earned her GED, received English tutoring at home, and was accepted into the County College of Morris nursing program, graduating in 2005. She even found a new love, Eddie, at the local hospital, who supported her and her dreams.

To become a visiting nurse at the local hospital, Acevedo needed to achieve her BSN, which she did in 2015 through the University of Saint Elizabeth. She was the speaker of her graduating class, with all her children cheering her on. “That was the moment I dreamt of,” Acevedo said. “That day I made another promise… master’s degree, here I come.”

Acevedo felt supported immediately after applying to and being accepted by Seton Hall. She named faculty like Joyce Maglione and Eileen Moran as nursing leaders she admired and who believed in her. “The place I thought I could never attend now became my home. I was not going to disappoint them,” she said. “The skills I received at Seton Hall gave me the courage to care for my community. I felt very confident as I received a high-quality education that I can implement in my day-to-day process.”

Despite obstacles like the COVID-19 pandemic, Acevedo persevered and graduated in 2021. Along the way, she dreamt of creating a place for people to visit, be nurtured, be educated, and feel safe. “I knew God had plans for me, but I didn’t know what the plans were,” she said. After reflecting on her life and legacy, she began her career as a nurse practitioner, eventually landing positions in three different practices while keeping two per diem nursing roles.

As Acevedo focused on gaining skills and knowledge, she and her husband, Eddie, worked on a plan to open her practice. Though rare in New Jersey, Acevedo knew many nurse practitioner-run practices and wanted to join them. Despite challenges—from finding a location to securing business collaborators—she launched the Health and Wellness Center of NJ in Dover.

Acevedo hopes to see her business expand across New Jersey, making it a desired workplace for fellow nurse practitioners and a main resource in various areas. “One day, I will offer scholarships to adults who didn’t have the opportunity to become educated and wish to be in health care,” she said.

To current students and other healthcare professionals, Acevedo shared, “Not everyone understands the role of the nurse practitioner; thus, it’s our responsibility to educate them.” She urges others to find a supportive team to help turn their dreams into tangible goals. “Your dream is yours. Stay focused on your goals, and don’t let other people’s opinions or lack of knowledge make you doubt yourself,” she advised.

Acevedo’s story is a great triumph, showcasing how she built her future with determination and faith. Her journey proves her resilience and exemplifies the power of perseverance. Inspired by Frank Sinatra’s words, Acevedo exclaims, “The best revenge is a massive success, and I did it my way.”

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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