Brandon Acosta has always felt called to serve a higher purpose. During high school, Brandon was drawn to help people and began volunteering at a local retirement home, which made him want to do even more service.
“After high school, I served on a two-year mission trip with my church and it just really grew my relationship with people through communication, listening and helping them,” Brandon said. “Faith is something I came to understand and develop, not just with God but with myself, that if I put my mind to it, I can do anything.”
After returning from his mission trip, Brandon knew he wanted to enroll in nursing school so he got his certified nursing assistant (CNA) license and started working in a nursing home. A friend recommended West Coast University and he decided to enroll as a first-generation college student.
“At the beginning, I thought being the first in my family to go to college was a lot on my shoulders,” Brandon said. “I have three brothers and they see me going to school and told me I am their inspiration. Now my youngest brother is applying for universities and knows it’s possible.”
Brandon’s mother also served as a CNA for 20 years and seeing her hard work was a big part of his motivation to become a nurse.
“My mom would head into work at 7 am and come home at 8 or 9 pm in her scrubs and tell me all about the crazy stories she experienced and it would inspire me to want to help others too,” Brandon shared.
A couple of years ago, Brandon’s brother experienced some medical challenges which solidified his drive to help others through nursing.
“When my oldest brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, it changed our relationship and it was so hard to communicate with him,” he shared. “When I visited him in rehab and saw how the nurses were caring for him and how he’s improved 100 percent from where he was, it was really amazing and inspiring.”
Now in his final year of the bachelor of science in nursing program at WCU-Los Angeles, Brandon said that although the nursing profession is still more female-dominated, he has seen more men become nurses since the pandemic started and feels that everyone treats each other with respect.
“My favorite quote is ‘Great men don’t live to be great but help others be better than themselves’ and that is my calling, to help make others better than me,” Brandon shared.