Sandra Mintz, MSN, RN, knew in high school that she wanted to be a nurse, and upon graduation, she did just that, the youngest in her class to graduate from Pasadena City College with an Associate of Science in nursing.
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Not long after embarking on her career, she received a life-altering medical diagnosis of her own following a left-side hemiparesis on Dec. 19, 1997: multiple sclerosis.
It may help explain why the new ARHP president is passionate about working with pediatric rheumatology patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). “I can’t change the things that happen to children or change that they have a medical condition, but I can change how they live with it and adapt to it,” says Ms. Mintz. “The disease is part of who they are, but it does not have to define them.”
It may also help explain her dedication and persistence in so many facets of her life.
Ms. Mintz earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from California State University, Dominguez Hills, in 2001, while working as a home health nurse, and later as a medical-surgical/rehabilitation nurse. She spent a decade as a single parent, raising her two older daughters (now teens) before remarrying. She is now a mother of three, with the addition of a 10-month-old baby girl that she and her husband adopted in February 2017.
The Need for Continuing Education
In December 2016, Ms. Mintz earned her Master of Science in nursing, a reflection of her commitment to education, as well as a response to the experience of nearly having a rheumatology research grant she won retracted when the chair of the awarding committee learned she did not have an advanced degree.
“It made me realize that to do some of the things I wanted long term in education and research, I had to go back and get a master’s degree and eventually, I will go back and get my doctorate in education,” Ms. Mintz says.
In 2002, Mintz was recruited into the rheumatology department at CHLA. “I have seen people grow up, move on, have careers and stay in touch after they have their own children,” she says. “It’s rewarding to be able to see these once really sick kids living their lives, going to college and being successful.”
Leveraging Personal Experiences
As a person with a chronic condition, Ms. Mintz is able to leverage her experiences to aid her patients, whether it’s coaching them through the challenges of injections or helping them make choices about new therapies. Two decades ago, Ms. Mintz was her physician’s first patient to go on a then newly approved medication, Copaxone, to treat her MS. She has been in remission ever since.