Dr. Ruby Martinez, RN, PhD, CS
Dr. Ruby Martinez (left) with a student.
How and when did you decide to go into nursing? How did you discover your interest and talent for it?
Good psychiatric nurses are good listeners. I discovered that I was a good listener when my grade school friends often confided in me about their problems and then expected some kind of advice or encouragement. As you can imagine, I learned much about how others live life, and realized that I wanted to help others in some capacity. In high school, I joined the health careers club and realized that nursing would be a great way to make a meaningful contribution to others in my community.
How have you defined career success for yourself? What have been your personal keys to success in nursing?
For me, success is defined by doing something that we view as meaningful with our lives. What I like about nursing is that one can study to become a nurse (in a two year or four year school), and can practice in a wide variety of health care settings and populations: childbirth, coronary care, mental health, older adults, and teenagers. Once licensed as a nurse, one can move from one area to another with proper orientation to the new specialty, and one can return to school for higher degrees that open the door to even more opportunity. Nurses with a two year degree can earn a BS degree, then a Masters degree (advanced practice nurses), then a doctorate (PhD) if they wish to do teaching and research. There is also a fairly new degree, the Nursing Doctorate, which prepares nurse to be advanced generalists. The point is that one need not be bored in the field of nursing.
What would you consider your proudest accomplishments in the field? Have you had any major setbacks along the road?
My proudest accomplishments have occurred in the practice of nursing. As a clinical specialist in psychiatric nursing, my greatest accomplishments have occurred when I have been able to help my patient see that much of reality is defined by the self and how these perceptions of reality define our opportunities and limitations in life. It takes years to learn to be a counselor and it can be a long difficult road, but with the right mentors it is well worth the work.
What do you enjoy most about your job, your career?
What I like best about being on faculty in a school of nursing is that I am autonomous. Currently, I work in an administrative capacity and practice nursing at an outpatient substance abuse program. My role allows me the freedom to be innovative in the ways I solve problems, to learn continuously, and to meet new people. I feel challenged and rarely feel stuck.