When Jasmin Valdez Eastman was five years old, she told her family she wanted to be a “baby doc.” As a first grader, she checked out all the birthing books at her school library. For her high school senior project, she compared midwifery versus obstetric care. “I guess you could say, I’ve always been obsessed with pregnancy and birth,” says Eastman. You think?
For Eastman, studying did not come naturally, and she struggled with writing papers. “I never quite believed I could handle the rigor of college. So, I did little things instead.” She became a birth doula and helped support mothers during labor and delivery. But being “on-call” and juggling a full-time job and family was challenging.
Jasmin with her daughters.
Then after working for a while and giving birth to her first child, she decided to go back to school and obtain her pre-requisites for nursing. She earned her associate degree through Arapahoe Community College and was hired as a registered nurse at Rose Medical Center in the Labor and Delivery unit. “When I went back to school, I was surprised I could be a good student. I learned I had a passion for the subject.” Maybe it was life experience; being a parent and volunteering as a doula. Who knows what it was, but this time was different.
Her teachers were different; they gave her a chance and believed in her. She gained the confidence to excel. Within months of graduation, she started the RN to BS program at the University of Colorado College of Nursing. “CU has been incredible. It’s nice to have people bring out the best in the students. I’ve really enjoyed all my classes here.”
And one teacher, in particular, has made her confidence soar – Dr. Carmen Stephens. “On one of my papers she noted that if I did a little editing, she felt sure I could get it published. I was shocked and incredibly proud.” To go from struggling in high school to being a straight-A student in college has been a “bit like being reborn.”
“CU has taught me that given the right environment, you can flourish,” says Eastman. Her immediate plans are to take the next year to commit to her role as a labor and delivery nurse. Then she intends to pursue her MS to DNP specializing in midwifery. “I had such great and supportive faculty at CU, I can’t see going anywhere else.”