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Seton Hall University

Nursing Alumna Patricia Acevedo Rises Against All Odds and Opens Independent Practice as a Nurse Practitioner

During the month of May each year, National Nurses Week begins on May 6 and culminates on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday – who is considered the mother of modern nursing. This week is celebrated worldwide to honor the invaluable contributions of nurses everywhere.

Patricia Acevedo

Seton Hall’s College of Nursing stands out for its excellence in preparing future healthcare professionals. Patricia Acevedo ’21, who was a part of the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program, is just one of many nurses among the fold of great minds nurtured at Seton Hall.

Acevedo’s story began in the suburbs of Mexico City where she and her sister were raised by their grandmother, who worked in the kitchen of a hospital, and her uncle, a cook by trade. Her early ambitions danced between going to a prestigious university in Mexico, becoming a mechanic engineer, and growing into a professional woman. Sidelined by her journey into motherhood and the cultural beliefs at the time regarding female education, Acevedo saw her future slipping away.

At only 19, Acevedo moved to Dover, NJ, but an unexpected turn of events led her back to Mexico. It was then that she had to make the hardest decision to return to Dover without her kids to fully pursue her education and make them proud of her.

Feeling as though God gave her a second opportunity, Acevedo landed her first job as a staff nurse at a local hospital. She recalled, "I saw the work of nurses who inspired me to become one. They reminded me of my grandmother." And so, it began. She went on to get her GED while receiving English tutoring at home, was accepted into the County College of Morris nursing program and graduated in 2005. For Acevedo, everything was coming up roses; she had even found a new love at the local hospital, Eddie, who supported her and her dreams.

To become a visiting nurse at the local hospital, she needed to achieve her BSN, and she did in 2015 through the University of Saint Elizabeth; she was the speaker of her graduating class and had all of her children there to cheer her on. "That was the moment I dreamt of," Acevedo said. "That day I made another promise… master’s degree here I come."

Acevedo noted how she felt supported immediately after applying and getting accepted into Seton Hall. She named faculty like Joyce Maglione and Eileen Moran as nursing leaders whom she admired and who believed in her. "The place that I thought I would never be able to attend now became my home. I was not going to disappoint them," she said. "The skills I received at Seton Hall gave me the courage to care for my community. I felt very confident as I know I received a high-quality education which I can implement in my day-to-day process."

Despite obstacles like the COVID-19 pandemic, Acevedo pushed through and graduated in 2021. She expressed that along this journey she dreamt of creating a place for people to visit, be nurtured, be educated and feel safe. She said, "I knew God had plans for me, but I didn’t know what the plans were." After taking some time to reflect on her own life and legacy, she decided to move forward with beginning her career as a nurse practitioner and was finally able to land a position in three different practices simultaneously while keeping two per diem nursing positions.

While Acevedo focused on gaining the skills and knowledge she needed, she and her husband Eddie worked together on a plan for her to open her practice. Though it may have been rare in New Jersey, Acevedo knew of many practices run by nurse practitioners and knew she would be among the few. Obstacles were coming from left and right – from finding a location to finding collaborators for the business – but it wasn’t long before she found her footing, launching the Health and Wellness Center of NJ in Dover.

Acevedo hopes to see her business expand to different parts of New Jersey as she wants it to be the desired place to work by fellow nurse practitioners and a main resource in various areas. "One day, I will offer scholarships to adults who didn’t have the opportunity to become educated and wish to be in health care," she said.

To current students and other healthcare professionals, Acevedo shared, "Not everyone understands the role of the nurse practitioner, thus, it’s our responsibility to educate them." Acevedo urges others to find the right team of supporters who will help to turn their dreams into tangible goals. She continued saying, "Your dream is yours. Stay focused on your goals and don’t let other people’s opinions or lack of knowledge make you doubt yourself."

Acevedo’s story is one of great triumph and tells of how she built her future with determination and faith. Her journey proves her resilience and exemplifies the power of perseverance. Inspired by the words of Frank Sinatra, Acevedo exclaims, "The best revenge is massive success, and I did it my way."

Categories: Health and Medicine