While most kids were hanging out with friends in middle and high school, University of Colorado College of Nursing BSN candidate Mark Domingo and his two siblings were helping their mom take care of three elderly people who lived in their home. His mom Ruby was a certified caregiver. For 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, they helped her feed the patients, get them showered and dressed, and take them on walks. They treated them like family. The experience sparked Domingo’s passion for helping others.
“I saw in my mom’s actions how to take care of people, even though it was very stressful. She would even sit with them on their deathbed until they passed. That really spoke to me, that this is how you take care of somebody - until the very end,” said Domingo “The really rewarding thing about that is you’re a part of this person’s journey and that you’re there for them.”
Mark Domingo and his mom at his 2018 graduation from Colorado Mesa University
The experience also inspired Domingo’s younger sister to get into nursing. He is grateful to his mom for teaching them how to take care of others.
“I just want to thank her for showing me this world and her way of compassion. It really drives my nursing practice or my future nursing practice, and I hope that I can emulate her ways in my career.”
The family immigrated from the Philippines to Hawaii when Domingo was 5. When it was time for college, Domingo worried he was being influenced by what his mom wanted and decided to pursue a degree in psychology instead. He earned a bachelor of arts in 2018 from Colorado Mesa University. But he was never able to land a job in the field. Instead, Domingo worked as a resident assistant alongside nurses and rediscovered his passion for helping people. He decided to go back to school, this time at CU Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus, and follow in his mom’s footsteps. Even better, his degree in psychology has helped him become a better nurse.
“The main thing I learned in psychology that I put into practice now is being patient and having an open mind. You don’t know what everybody’s been through and what they’re going through. So, you have to be understanding and compassionate,” he said. “We’re here to help them in their healing process. Being judgmental and stubborn will not be helpful for them.”
Once Domingo walks across the stage in May 2023, he hopes to land a new graduate position or residency program with Children’s Hospital and UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in the operating room.
On graduation day, Domingo’s mom will be rooting him on.
“When I told her I was going to be a nurse, she was happy, because that’s what she wanted. And now, that’s also what I want to do,” he said.