Growing up in Lowell, nursing major Miranda Melo spent much of her childhood with her grandmother, who only speaks Portuguese. 

Melo, who is fluent in both English and Portuguese, translated discussions during doctors’ appointments for her grandmother, and she quickly picked up and understood health care terminology.

“I loved being able to close the language gap for my grandmother so that she could receive the best information and health care experience possible,” says Melo, whose mom is also a nurse. “Becoming a nurse has been my goal for as long as I can remember. I love the idea of caring for others and using my time to benefit the lives of other people.”

Now in her final semester, Melo is working alongside the school nurse at the Ryan Elementary School in Tewksbury. This one-on-one experience, called a preceptorship, provides a supportive environment for her to further develop her nursing skills.

“We see anywhere from 40 to 60 students per day for various health-related issues,” she says. “We care for children with various preexisting health issues, as well as acute visits like falls, nosebleeds and broken bones.”

After Melo completes the nursing program in December and passes the licensing exam, she’ll search for a job in a community hospital.

“I feel that I will be able to positively impact the health care of the Portuguese population in Lowell,” she says. “I can see myself working in a community hospital like Lowell General in just a few short months.” 

Her past clinical rotations included working at Lowell General Hospital, Winchester Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and the Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of New England.

“I strengthened my assessment skills, administered medications safely and improved my communication with patients, family members and other health care team members,” says Melo.

Growing up in Lowell, Melo says she always wanted to go to nursing school at UML.

“My dream was always to attend UMass Lowell with its renowned nursing program,” she says. “The professors offer a broad spectrum of experience in health care, and each contribute such diverse views and knowledge to the curriculum. The labs, clinical rotations and my preceptorship have all prepared me for the next phase of my career.”