Yadira Santiago Banuelos

Yadira Santiago Banuelos

A Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences alumna, Yadira Santiago Banuelos (BS NUR ’15, MS NUR ’18) values being able to provide comfort and care to underserved patients as a family nurse practitioner. Being a Spanish-speaking healthcare provider allows her to better connect to and have a deeper understanding of her patients in the large Hispanic population in rural Monon, Indiana. For Santiago Banuelos, as a first-generation immigrant, whose parents were born in Mexico, Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) provides an opportunity to connect deeper to her roots and the Hispanic community.

What is your current role and responsibilities?

I currently work as a family nurse practitioner at our Purdue North Central Nursing Clinics in the Monon Family Health Clinic. I see all patients across the lifespan from newborns to geriatrics, including women’s health and prenatal care.

What inspired you to pursue this career field?

I became interested in nursing the night I delivered my first son. I had phenomenal nurses who really made me feel safe and were reassuring during such a difficult time. I immediately knew I wanted to be able to provide that same comfort and reassurance to others. After graduating and working with patients — both outpatient and inpatient — and realizing the drastic need for Spanish-speaking primary care providers, my desire to continue my education and become a nurse practitioner developed.

How has your education from Purdue HHS shaped your career?

Being a nontraditional student throughout my nursing education was daunting, but my professors were always extremely professional and caring. They always instilled a love and desire for quality improvement and continued education. This has led me to repeatedly return to Purdue for my continued education. I am currently back at Purdue to pursue my doctoral degree, with a desire to help instill quality improvement in the care we provide for our community. I would eventually love to teach and instill that same love for learning in future students as well.

What is the most rewarding part of your career and why?

Although difficult at times, working in a setting that serves a large population of underserved and underinsured patients as well as a large Hispanic population is extremely rewarding. Being able to provide care in the patient’s native language is quite impactful, both for them and myself. Patients demonstrate such gratitude to have care in their native language, and it is definitely a daily reminder of the importance of my work. I strongly believe that education is one of the strongest tools we can provide our patients with, and I strive to address their care proactively in an attempt to improve outcomes and reduce unnecessary ER visits.

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

To me, Hispanic Heritage month is an opportunity to bring additional light to all of the amazing cultures and values of the Hispanic community. Understanding and acknowledging Hispanic cultures and values not only helps us become more well-rounded individuals and more culturally aware, but it also helps providers like myself provide more personalized and culturally competent care. Being a first-generation immigrant, I have experienced firsthand how easy it is to acculturate to other cultures and values. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to really identify back to my roots and remember all the amazing history behind our culture. 

Written by: Rebecca Hoffa, rhoffa@purdue.edu