School of Nursing Celebrates 2018 Gold Nuggets
Earning an advanced degree from UTEP’s School of Nursing opened new doors to successful career opportunities for Annie L. Garcia and Christina I. Paz, DNP.
The master’s program in Nursing Systems Management enabled Garcia, a nurse for 15 years, to transition from the patient’s bedside into one of Hospital Corporation of America’s (HCA) top nursing leaders.
For Paz, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program prepared her with the skills to advance her clinical practice and to advocate for patients who lack adequate access to health care in the U.S.-Mexico border region.
In recognition of their outstanding contributions to the nursing profession, UTEP and the community, the University will honor Garcia and Paz with the 2018 UTEP Gold Nugget Awards for the School of Nursing. They will be recognized during UTEP’s 2018 Homecoming activities, scheduled for Sept. 30 – Oct. 6.
For more than 30 years, UTEP has recognized exceptional graduates from each of its colleges and schools who have excelled in their professions, give back to their communities and alma mater, and serve as an inspiration for future generations of Miners.
The School of Nursing will honor Garcia and Paz during the school’s Homecoming reception on Thursday, Oct. 4.
“The education UTEP has given me has allowed me to grow,” said Paz, interim chief executive officer at Centro San Vicente Family Health Center in El Paso. She was among the first cohort of students to graduate from the DNP program in 2013. “It has allowed me to change my way of practicing so that I provide the best evidence-based care to my patients.”
Paz was a family nurse practitioner at Centro San Vicente for nine years before she was named chief operating officer in 2017. She was appointed interim CEO in August 2018.
In 2014, Paz returned to the School of Nursing as a clinical assistant professor. She is a shining example of success for the next generation of UTEP nurses.
Garcia started as a registered nurse at HCA’s Del Sol Medical Center in 2003. The El Paso native was named Del Sol’s chief nursing officer in 2017.
Garcia previously served as the chief nursing officer at Methodist Texsan Hospital in San Antonio and was instrumental in the hospital’s efforts to improve nursing engagement, patient experience and quality outcomes, resulting in a number of recognitions.
Since returning to El Paso, Garcia’s ties to UTEP are stronger than ever. She serves on the School of Nursing’s advisory board and helps to shape the future of nursing education at UTEP.
“While I was in high school, I realized that becoming a nurse afforded me the ability to have a career that I am passionate about and also contribute to my community,” said Garcia, a 2013 UTEP MSN graduate. “As a nurse you have several areas of practice that you can advance in, making it the right choice for me.”
For a full listing of UTEP’s 2018 Gold Nugget Award recipients, click here.