George and Steven Ocegueda  Like Father, Like Son

Profiles in Nursing

George and Steven Ocegueda Like Father, Like Son

RN, Phase I Unit, Clinical Research, City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, California; and High School Senior

By Beth Duggan
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Not long after graduating from high school, George Ocegueda found himself with the unique challenge of being a single father. Despite not liking school very much, he knew he needed the find the stability required to raise his son. Having always been an admirer of the medical field and wanting to do something that helped others, George decided to go to college to become a nurse.

“It was extremely challenging but I gave it 100 percent,” he said. “To my surprise, I became a 4.0 student, made the dean’s honor list three times, and was awarded the President’s Academic Award. I graduated in 1995 as one of the top students in my nursing class at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.”

Since 1996, George has worked in a variety of roles and settings, such as medical-surgical, respiratory units, emergency departments, ICU, director of DOU/telemetry, registry, and now as an oncology nurse with City of Hope. And his son Steven, now 17, plans on following in his father’s footsteps.

“Two years ago, a friend asked him what he was planning to do when he grows up, and he told her that he was going to be a nurse like his parents,” George said. “Since then that answer became more common. We asked him about it and he told us that he decided that nursing was for him, too, and we are proud.”

It seems to go both ways, as Steven said that his father is one of his biggest inspirations.

“I saw how hard my parents had to work to get through nursing school,” he said. “That taught me that no matter how hard something may be now, it will all pay off in the end. They have shown me how to put others before myself and not be selfish.”

When it comes time for Steven to enter nursing school, George and his wife, who is also a nurse at CHLA, have decided they will pay for his school so that he can focus on the work. They want him to take his studies seriously and have already counseled him about what to expect, what will be challenging, and sacrifices he’ll have to make, but that it will be worth the effort.

“My son’s experience will be much different than mine,” George said. “I had no nurse mentor, nor did I even know a nurse. It took years of hands-on work to really understand and learn the art of nursing. Since both my wife and I are nurses, our son will have our support, mentorship and guidance.

“He has already learned to appreciate nursing and understands the vital difference nurses can make in the lives of their patients,” he continued. “He enjoys listening to our conversations on how we touch lives and how we help our patients and their family members deal with difficult situations and decisions, and he asks many questions. He has told us we are his nurse role models.”

George didn’t need to educate Steven as he was growing up about the stereotypes that come with the field of nursing because, with two parents as nurses, it seemed to be a nongender issue. And as far as what his friends think, Steven hasn’t run into stereotypes there either.

“I have mentioned nursing to my friends,” he said, “and they have supported my career choice. A couple of them have begun to look into nursing as a career possibility as well. I don’t feel it matters whether a nurse is male or female. All that matters is that the care be provided in a professional, well-organized and ethical way.”

This past December, the Oceguedas were on the other side of the fence after Steven was hospitalized from a snowboarding accident. George left work to take him to the ER, and when the nurse attending to his son saw George in his scrubs she told Steven that she and his father were colleagues. Steven just smiled and said, “Yes, but do you have four Daisy Awards like my dad has?” and then turned and winked at his father.

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