HER: Student Alexes Galvez

Health Equity Reimagined

Student Engagement

Grandmother’s Nursing Stories Inspired Duke Student to Follow Similar Path

Alexes Galvez
Alexes Galvez

Alexes Galvez remembers being 6 or 7 years old, falling asleep to stories of her grandmother’s travels from the Philippines to America where she worked as a labor and delivery nurse to support her family back home.

Her lola, which means “grandmother” in Tagalog language, was part of a wave of immigrant nurses recruited to come to America to help fill nursing shortages in the early 1960s. Her lola told stories of the harsh winters in Chicago, falling in- love with Frank Sinatra’s music for the first time and the challenges of adjusting to life in America.

“She worked for years at a time without seeing her family, as a way to provide for them back home,” Galvez said. “Filipinos are known for their incredibly caring nature and value in community.”

Inspired by her grandmother’s stories, Galvez is following in her footsteps to become a nurse as well. Instead of labor and delivery, she is working to earn a Master of Science in Nursing in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program at the Duke University School of Nursing.

Mental health is a topic close to her heart.

"Just before the COVID-19 pandemic, I experienced an unimaginable loss that shook my understanding of my place in the world. I saw the impact a mental illness could have on a person and their family, and knew I wanted to be a part of making a greater difference in people’s lives – particularly helping people lead mentally and emotionally healthy lives.”

Alexes Galvez

MSN Student

When she began searching for a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program, DUSON stood out because of its commitment to health equity, social justice, nursing excellence, diversity, inclusion and putting human beings at the forefront of its philosophy.

“As a person with a diverse background and personal identities I’m proud of, I appreciated a school that aligned with my values,” Galvez said. “The MSN PMHNP program also ranked highly in the nation, and it was important for me to get an education that would prepare me to be the best psych nurse practitioner I could be.”

Once she graduates, Galvez hopes to care for youth and adult LGBTQ+ communities and their families, those in underserved populations and increase access to supportive gender-affirming care.

“I learned at a young age that healthcare was a way to not only be able to give back to others by caring for them, but more importantly it was a way to take care of your own families and communities,” Galvez said. “I believe my journey to becoming a nurse was always meant to be a part of my life as it was deeply embedded in my Filipino cultural upbringing and one I am proud to be.”

Inspired by her grandmother’s work as a nurse, Alexes Galvez is studying to earn her Master of Science in Nursing in the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program at the Duke University School of Nursing.

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