Discover Your Island

Islander Alumni, Nurse Practitioners Make Medical Cover Story

November 17, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – From owning local healthcare businesses to being active in the Coastal Bend community, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) alumni are making a positive difference with their degree. The impact of seven Islander alumni was recently highlighted in the November issue of MD Monthly.

“The capacity and impact of nurse practitioners are boundless,” said Dr. Julie Anne Hoff, Dean of the CONHS. “Nurse practitioners possess knowledge and skills that are in high demand because they make a difference in the lives of patients and families.”

Kristy Aleman, one of the seven featured nurse practitioners, utilizes an entrepreneurial spirit as part of her nursing profession. Aleman, who received her Master of Science in Nursing in 2008, first became interested in nursing when a close family member was diagnosed with lung cancer and eventually passed away. Feeling that the cancer could have been treated earlier if there were better healthcare options in the area, she dedicated herself to becoming an excellent nurse practitioner.

“There is a shortage of primary care providers,” said Aleman. “There are usually precursors for major illnesses. Maybe if you see something in the initial examination, you can really help.”

In 2015, she opened the Halcyon Med Spa and Wellness Center as another way to provide much-needed services in the Corpus Christi community. The following year, Aleman launched Raw Bar, which offers the community access to healthy smoothies. She is planning to open a second Raw Bar location and is considering turning her business into a franchise.

Patrick Ayarzagoitia, another of the seven featured alumni, started out his career as a photojournalist working in cities from San Antonio to Los Angeles. His wife, who is also an Islander alumna and 2014 FNP graduate, encouraged Ayarzagoitia to become a registered nurse. He graduated with his master’s degree in 2011 and recently started a business, Education for Advanced Practice, which specializes in review courses and training for FNPs and FNP students. He continues to work locally part-time at Statcare Urgent Care clinic and EmCare.

“Access to healthcare continues to be a problem for many, and nurse practitioners help fill the gap by providing high-quality healthcare by diagnosing, treating and managing many healthcare problems,” said Ayarzagoitia. “I hope that independent practice becomes a reality for FNPs in the near future because patients will no longer suffer and their healthcare will improve dramatically.”

Five additional Islander alumni were highlighted in MD Monthly, including:

  • Gillian Cox, who received a Master of Science in Nursing in 2013;
  • Rudolfo DeLeon, who received a Master of Science in Nursing in 2009;
  • Heather Kostoff, who received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2003 and a Master of Science in Nursing in 2006;
  • Hugo Lopez, who received a Master of Science in Nursing in 2014;
  • Martha Moon, who received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1992.

MD Monthly is a resource for both medical care providers and patients across the United States. Its print publication, Texas MD Monthly, can be found at retail locations in Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Corpus Christi and the Rio Grande Valley. MD Monthly provides free circulations for physicians, hospitals, hospice centers and other medical industry members. The magazine covers a variety of subjects, including gendered health issues, age-related health issues, dental health, cosmetic medicine and holistic health.

“We are so fortunate, our alumni give back to the College of Nursing on a regular basis,” said Hoff. “Many serve as preceptors and mentors to our undergraduate and graduate students.”

The CONHS boasts one of the top ten majors for fall 2017 enrollment and admits nearly 600 students a year. Through qualified professional teaching and real-life experience utilizing state-of-the-art simulations, Islander graduates are ready to make a difference in the healthcare community like the alumni featured in MD Monthly.