Meet Diana Ortega, BSN RN at the Rush Oak Park Wound Care Clinic. As a first-generation Mexican American, Diana’s journey into nursing is a story of transformation, resilience, and the pursuit of a career that touches lives. Her recent enrollment in a master’s program is a step forward in her commitment to advancing her knowledge and skills in the nursing field. But Diana’s path to nursing was not straightforward. It was a journey marked by a pivotal decision that changed the course of her life.

Early Inspiration and Career Shift

Diana was not always a nurse. Coming from a first-generation Mexican American family, going to college was a necessity. Her love for cooking pointed her in the direction of culinary school. Culinary arts and Hospitality was Diana’s first career, but not her last.

“What really inspired me to go to nursing school was the care that I received while having my son.”

Having a child is a magical and terrifying experience, especially when it is your first. Diana was amazed at the level of empathy, care, and kindness she experienced while going through the birth of her son. The nurses who cared for her left such an impact that she decided to switch careers and become a nurse!

“Having my son kind of made me realize that I can do something more with myself and have a better future for him.”


Mentorship and Influence

“When I started nursing school, my mentor when I first joined the National Association of Hispanic Nurses was Susanna Gonzalez. She was the one that kind of gave me that push that you can do it. 

Si Se Puede. That’s our motto, that you can do it. If it weren’t for her, I would not have finished nursing school. She was a motivation.”

Mentorship is an incredibly important part of nursing. Having someone in your corner to help you accomplish your goals, give you advice, and connect you with the right people makes all the difference in the world. Along with mentoring Diana in NAHN, Susanna also inspired her to join ANA-Illinois, and showed her all the unique and amazing opportunities ANA provides. Here, Diana has flourished in leadership roles and participated in real nursing advancement policies.


Diana’s Involvement with ANA-Illinois

Diana sits on the ANA-Illinois Board of Directors and also sits on two committees, the legislative committee and the membership committee. 

Working with the Legislative Committee gives Diana an up close and personal experience with dissecting governing policies on healthcare for the state. More than that however, she gets to participate in guiding healthcare bills through the legislative process of Illinois. “I get an introduction to all the bills that ANA and ANA-Illinois are following. Our legislative committee works to make sure that the bill language is correct and it is something we can support.” 

The Membership Committee works to spark interest of nurses into joining ANA-Illinois. “Being on the membership committee, we’re trying to do things to increase our membership and tailor it to all the different types of generations out there.” 

Diana was also part of the inaugural NREO- Nurses Running for Elected Office Training Academy. Being a part of this class taught her the ins and outs of being a part of and running an election campaign. NREO gave Diana the confidence to run for ANA-Illinois Board of Directors, and has inspired her to look for further political leadership roles and opportunities. 


Diana Ortega: Board Member, Mother, and Committed Caregiver

From culinary artist to BSN RN at Rush Oak Park Hospital and working towards her masters, Diana’s story tells the world that it is never too late to find your passion. Her inspiration to make the switch is a testament to just how important and impactful nursing is on the world. 

ANA-Illinois is proud to have members like Diana. Her journey in nursing and ANA-Illinois shows how valuable determination can be. Diana Ortega embodies the essence of nursing: commitment to care, continuous learning, and community advocacy. 


Join ANA-Illinois today and follow in Diana’s footsteps of leadership, compassion, and care!