We Dare to achieve our best

We Dare to achieve our best

Where would you go to pursue your passion?

BSN student Hayley Flores grew up hearing stories of the dedicated NICU nurses who provided lifesaving care to her brother when he was born prematurely. She came to the University of Michigan from Santa Clarita, California, to pursue the dream of becoming a NICU nurse herself.

“I’ve always looked up to nurses, and understanding the impact they’ve had on my family made me want to become one,” Flores said.

Flores also draws inspiration from her father. Raised in poverty by a single mother, he became an educator and has worked hard to help students facing similar hardships while providing Hayley and her siblings with opportunities he never had.

In high school, Flores took a vacation to northern Michigan with a friend and was encouraged to take a closer look at U-M. Energized by the academic opportunities and exciting campus culture she saw in Ann Arbor, she moved across the country to take on a rigorous course of study at the nation’s top public university.

“I realized that if you have an opportunity like this, you have to go for it and take the chance,” Flores said. “Nursing school is challenging, but you have to let your passion to help others drive you. And once you start your clinical work, you realize exactly why you’re here.”

As part of her clinical requirements, Flores has spent time at Dixon Educational Learning Academy in Detroit, developing educational health and wellness programs for students, teachers and families in an underserved community. The experience has fostered a deeper understanding of what it takes to succeed in the profession.

 “We’re often blind to the circumstances others face, but if you take the time to listen you realize how much crime, poverty and other issues affect someone’s health,” Flores explained. “We need to empathize and understand the communities our patients come from so we can connect them with the right resources and cater our care to them.”

Flores’ experience at Dixon has also helped her develop valuable skills that go beyond a nurse’s traditional role, including the ability to thoughtfully guide patients through difficult conversations.

“When you immerse yourself in a community, you see the struggles that students and families face. Many of the students we work with don’t have support outside of school, so it’s rewarding to be able to help out in any small way,” Flores said.

Flores came to the University of Michigan School of Nursing to gain the knowledge she would need to realize her dream, and now she’s preparing to go back home. After graduation in 2020, Flores plans to return to California and begin training in a NICU.

“I’ve always looked up to nurses, and understanding the impact they’ve had on my family made me want to become one.”

— Hayley Flores

BSN Student

Hayley Flores