Frank Baez (MEYERS ’19)
Committed to Patient Care
By Dulcy Israel
Portrait by Davey Adesida
When Frank Baez talks about his life partner, it’s with love and loyalty. “I’m married to NYU,” says Baez, who began working as a nurse at NYU Langone Health’s Cardiothoracic ICU last August. But his relationship with the medical institution stretches back to 2006, when he was 17 and joined the housekeeping staff at NYU Langone Tisch Hospital.
Baez and his siblings had emigrated from the Dominican Republic two years earlier to reunite with their mother and grandfather in Brooklyn. Over the next several years, Baez not only worked his way up at the hospital to patient transporter, then unit clerk, but he also mastered English, graduated from high school, and earned an associate degree from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, then a bachelor’s from Hunter.
Although the idea of nursing had lingered in the back of his mind, a single event brought it to the fore. “There was a patient who coded,” remembers Baez, “and I saw how a nurse advocated for the patient.” She enlisted Baez’s aid, asking him to deliver some critical labwork. “Just being able to help, but at the same time observe and take in all that information and all that action, transformed my thinking and told me I need to be like her. I need to become a nurse,” he recalls.
He was encouraged by colleagues, including Kimberly Volpe, the senior director of nursing at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, who offered to write a letter of recommendation. When—while on the job—he learned that he’d been accepted into the Meyers College of Nursing, he was “ecstatic” and hit every floor from top to lobby to share the good news. “If you are in an organization where you’re coming from the bottom, as I did, and you move up one step at a time, and that organization supports you in that growth, you will stay with them for a very long time,” he says. Once he has accumulated more experience as a nurse, Baez plans to pursue a master’s degree in an adult care nurse practitioner program at Meyers (he has already been accepted) and eventually follow that up with a PhD. “This is the right place for me,” Baez says without hesitation. “I wouldn’t change a thing. I would do it again a hundred times. A thousand more times.”
“If you are in an organization where you’re coming from the bottom, as I did, and you move up one step at a time, and that organization supports you in that growth, you will stay with them for a very long time.”