For Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from September 15 through October 15, Sibyl Vinas Meza joined Concorde Career Colleges to share her unique perspective on the healthcare industry as a Peruvian, social media influencer, and nurse.
Proud to Be Peruvian: How Heritage Shaped Her Career
Nurse Sibyl’s family immigrated to the United States when she was only 11. At this young age, she found a fascination with medical shows, and knew that she her future was going to be in the healthcare industry in one way or another. Coming from a family of high-achieving entrepreneurs, Sibyl did not have an immediate role model in the healthcare space to help her learn the roles of a nurse and navigate the influence she could have on the Latinx community, but they did instill a strong drive and determination in her.
“I got used to being the only one in the space with my particular perspective. You know not only am I an immigrant, Latina, I’m also Peruvian,” explained Sibyl. “In the U.S., Peruvians make a small percentage of the immigrants here – the Latino community – depending on where you are. I got very used to being my own motivation and looking elsewhere for mentorship.”
By growing up in an unfamiliar environment with a lack of Peruvian representation, Nurse Sibyl experienced several hurdles, including difficulty in finding people that spoke her native language. Now, she values being bilingual and having the ability to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients without relying on a translator.
“It’s really important to keep encouraging people that speak Spanish – people from Latin America – to become healthcare workers, because there really is a big need. There are so many patients who could benefit tremendously from having someone who speaks their language and someone who understands them culturally,” Sibyl said. “There are already so many trust issues in healthcare that the added layer of not being able to get treatment in your own language is what keeps them out of the hospital when they should be in the hospital.”
Breaking Down Barriers: Representing the Latinx Community
Being a role model in the Latinx community means everything to Nurse Sibyl. The chance to inspire young people of color to go out of their comfort zones and reach their highest dreams without limitations is a driving force in her life. Through TikTok influencing, she aims to show minorities that there are people that look like them and have experienced similar struggles that now have successful careers.
“The only thing I always am striving for in the Latinx community is for unity because I find that we get too caught in not only labels, but nationalities,” she said. “We should not be focused on dividing an already small community. We should be focusing on what it is that makes our
community so awesome and what we can bring to the community to make it more vibrant and better.”
In nursing, there are a lot of opportunities to break the mold and pursue careers that aren’t necessarily “normal” for nurses. With a lack of healthcare professionals in the Latinx community, several members are filled with self-doubt and don’t think they have enough qualifications to obtain a high rewarding career, such as travel nursing and nursing in tech.
“We need to think bigger and reach for those positions that are high earning, coveted, that are in important roles and leadership positions. If you think you would be good at it, you have to try – you have to leave the door open for someone else,” said Sibyl.
Watch our video for more details on Nurse Sibyl’s career journey as a member of the Latinx community.