Monica Detomas ’16 ’18 earned her Master of Science degree in the Family Nurse Practitioner program, knew growing up in the Bronx that she wanted to work in healthcare. After volunteering in the geriatric unit of a local hospital, she fell in love with nursing. It would be, she decided, the best way to give back to her community. “As a woman of color who grew up in the Bronx, I feel the need to give back to my community and those around me.” Even before becoming a family nurse practitioner, Detomas was giving back -- to her school community as a peer mentor, a mentor to high school students through New York Mentorship Program, a Global Fellow, and as a CoSMO nurse preceptor.
Monica is a Diversity in Nursing Scholar.
Why did you decide to pursue nursing and why did you choose Columbia Nursing?
Columbia Nursing had always been my dream school, and I was ecstatic when I received my acceptance letter. During my clinical rotations, I saw a vast number of avoidable hospital readmissions. I wanted to understand the origin of this problem from a patient’s perspective. I became a family nurse practitioner so I could build relationships with patients, and better understand their challenges, and how to address them.
What did you gain from your education at Columbia Nursing?
I gained not only clinical knowledge but also the ability to recognize social differences in our world. I was fortunate to visit Ethiopia during my studies and to have had my preceptorship in Pamplona, Spain. I was amazed at the differences between healthcare systems.
What are you passionate about, and how has being a student at Columbia Nursing allowed you to follow that passion?
I am passionate about providing healthcare to underserved populations and the challenges they face, such as unemployment, the scarcity of housing and fresh food, and of access to primary care. Columbia Nursing has allowed me to follow this passion by introducing me to people who are dedicated to providing individualized patient care to underserved populations.
What’s the next step in your career?
I plan to work with underserved populations in New York City. I hope to work for an organization that is a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH). The PCMH healthcare model facilitates partnerships between individual patients and their personal providers, putting the patient at the center of care. By doing this I can build on my clinical skills, and also help alleviate the challenges underserved populations often face, such as housing and fresh food availability, disability, and unemployment. I would also like to guide students the way I was guided at Columbia Nursing, so I also plan on precepting students with the same patience and empowerment qualities that my preceptors had with me.
Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Columbia Nursing?
My favorite memory would definitely be mentoring incoming students. They reminded me how excited, nervous, and proud I felt to be starting my career at Columbia Nursing.