Finishing a year’s reign as “Miss New Jersey” and on the heels of a prestigious finish as second runner-up at the 2008 “Miss USA” Pageant, Tiffany Andrade, RN, will soon return to the career she loves — bedside nursing on the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The 23-year-old Brooklyn-born Hispanic (half-Puerto Rican, half-Ecuadoran) has achieved milestones in her beauty pageant career. Andrade, who took a hiatus from nursing to ready herself for the “Miss USA” Pageant last April in Las Vegas, says she was the only licensed nurse in the national competition, although there were some nursing students.
Good deeds, good work
She was the first New Jersey competitor to place in the national pageant in 15 years. Her titles have bestowed on her the charge to do fundraising for charities and organizations. She is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (www.thehispanicnurses.org) and the national spokeswoman for the Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives (www.AHHE.org) and the National Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Health (www.NHCCH.com).
One of the charities nearest and dearest to her heart is the Ronald McDonald House. She started focusing on charitable efforts for the Ronald McDonald House before she went into nursing, becoming interested in the charity through her college sorority, Alpha Delta Pi International Charity. Recently she participated in a benefit fashion show for the Ronald McDonald House.
“My goal is to promote public awareness of the healthcare needs of Hispanics in the community. I hope to assist in the professional development of Hispanics already in the healthcare industry,” she says. One of the statistics that most alarms her as a Hispanic woman, she says, is that Hispanics are the population that is least likely to have health insurance. “I think it’s important to bring awareness to the community, because, even as a Hispanic woman, I had no idea [this was such a problem],” she says. “Awareness helps to solve everything.”
Through her fundraising efforts and by being a role model, she also hopes to promote nursing to Hispanics who might not think that college is an option.
“I have a passion for women’s and children’s health, so I want to go back to the PICU in September or October. I love working in clinics, educating people who don’t have insurance, and educating teen mothers on sex education and teen pregnancy. I also love labor and delivery.”
She says she wasn’t nervous competing in “Miss USA,” but felt stressed while preparing for the competition. “I really enjoy competing, so being on stage was fun for me. I think it was more stressful before the pageant, just working out and making sure I was in the best shape of my life,” Andrade says. Being a nurse was a confidence-booster, she adds. “I had already graduated from college and had a career that I was extremely proud of, so it played a role in my confidence at the pageant,” she says.
As “Miss New Jersey” until October 2008, Andrade plans to keep fundraising for charities. Andrade says she is happy to have the opportunity to tell fellow nurses that there’s more to the pageant world than pretty faces and swimsuits. “I have basically been a volunteer for my state for a year,” she says. “I can capitalize on my efforts and bring awareness to these organizations that are important to me as a nurse and that I can work with as ‘Miss New Jersey,’ USA.”