A woman’s inspiring journey from janitor to nurse practitioner

This woman’s inspiring success story will encourage you to chase your dreams, no matter how hard the journey might take. 

When Jaines Andrades got a job as a custodian at Baystate Medical Center 10 years ago, she had one goal in mind: to work there as a nurse practitioner one day.

Two weeks ago, that dream finally became a reality when Jaines, of Chicopee, was hired as a nurse practitioner in the Trauma Surgery Department at Baystate.

Jaines Andrades
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She says this achievement was the product of tremendous amounts of hard work, studying, and sacrifice spanning a decade.

Jaines needed to invest a lot of time, energy, and money into her dream. Keeping herself motivated to work through all the hardships was also one of the biggest struggles she had to face.

Jaines was born to Puerto Rican parents in Buffalo, New York. The family moved to Springfield in 2005 when she was 14 years old.
She dreamed of becoming a lawyer as a little girl, but that goal eventually disappeared when she got to high school.

“As I got older and approached graduation I just didn’t see how a little girl like me could ever become a lawyer. I didn’t see it as something that was possible for me, so I got discouraged from the idea,” she recalls.

During a doctor’s visit with her mother, Jaines had a conversation with a nurse who told her the benefits of his profession. The more he talked about the program to become a nurse and the job itself, Jaines thought it was something she could do.

Jaines Andrades in Elm's College
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Jaines ended up taking pre-requisites and some introductory nursing classes at Holyoke Community College, and a year after, she transferred to Elms College in 2010. That same year, she applied for a job at Baystate’s Environmental Services Department, where she was accepted as a custodian.

She was initially assigned to clean the urgent care unit, but she was moved to the operating room where she got a more up-close look at what nurses do every day.

“I was able to interact with the nurses, and I would see patients coming and going from the operating room,” she remembers. “It was my first time seeing what it really is to be a nurse, and it peaked my interest. I was excited to learn more.”

Jaines Andrades during her graduation from Elm's College
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And that’s exactly what she did. She graduated from Elm’s in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. However, nearly two more years passed before she got hired as a registered nurse at Baystate. Despite landing a nursing job, Jaines kept her environmental services work because she wanted to keep her foot in the door to work for Baystate.

In late 2015, she got a job as a registered nurse at the Mason Square Neighborhood Health Clinic on Wilbraham Road. Gloria Wilson, one of her colleagues at the facility, convinced her to pursue a doctorate in nursing. The former was taking her master’s degree at the time and believed it was also a path that Jaines should take.

The nurse/custodian was convinced. While studying for her doctorate, Jaines transferred to a new job as a registered nurse in Baystate’s acute care unit. The position focused on caring for patients with heart failure. Jaines had worked there until she was hired as a nurse practitioner.

“It wasn’t a smooth ride, it wasn’t an easy ride, but it got done,” she said. “That’s what I’m happy about.”

Jaines Andrades badges
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Jaines said all of this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of her family and friends. A decade of working hard towards her goals meant she had to miss out on many family outings and events.

As she embarks on a new chapter in her career, Jaines looks back on her first week as a hopeful 19-year-old cleaning rooms and mopping floors. Last month, she shared a photo on Facebook featuring the three badges representing every stage of her career so far. The first was her ID as a custodian, the next was the one of her as a registered nurse, and the last is her current badge as a nurse practitioner.

If there’s one thing that Jaines hopes to impart to others, it’s this:

“Your life is what you make it, and, if you’re working towards your dreams and you believe in yourself and you believe in your dream, it doesn’t matter if the path isn’t perfect. Even if there are hardships and struggles along the way, it doesn’t discount the value of your achievement.”

Jaines’ journey may have been tough, but it was all worth it! Share this story to inspire your friends and family to reach for their dreams.