Los Angeles, CA – Nazik Kambar, a registered nurse specializing in bone marrow transplants and a College Success Arizona alumnus, was born in Baghdad, Iraq, graduated high school and university in Phoenix, and now provides care to children dealing with deadly diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Nazik says her “job” is more of a calling,
“I’ve been a nurse for a little less than five years and it has completely exceeded my expectations. There’s not a day that I go into work that I’m not happy to be there, and I don’t look at nursing so much as a career – I look at it more so as a purpose and something I feel like I was born to do. My work is about taking care of people and being readily available to help people, and also to use my medical skill and expertise to aid as many people as possible. So I absolutely love what I do, and I have plans to go back to school and get my doctorate, but I’m just not ready to leave the bedside care aspect of nursing.”
The very serious part of Nazik’s job is treating pediatric patients living with deadly diseases, “We try to keep things as normal as possible because this is something terrible that has affected this person and their family, but we find ways to kind of normalize their lives and help them through this terrible process.”
Nazik, age 26, grew up in Jordan until the age of eight before arriving in Phoenix as a refugee. She graduated from Coronado High School and then earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing from Grand Canyon University in 2013.
Nazik then started her career journey, “I began my first job at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and I worked there for just a little under two years. My goal was always to be a traveling nurse, but I needed to get that first year or two of experience before I could qualify to be a traveling nurse. I was lucky to find my passion, working in the hematology-oncology unit, and I’ve been involved with hematology-oncology ever since. After getting a good chunk of experience in Phoenix, I moved to Oakland (California) and got a contract with Children’s Hospital Oakland and then I was able to transfer to the University of California San Francisco, where I stayed for about two years. Then my path led me here to Los Angeles last May when I started working at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.”
Nazik is among the hundreds of high potential students from low income circumstances who have earned scholarships from College Success Arizona. In addition to financial support, students such as Nazik also receive specialized mentoring services from a team of “Success Advisers.”
Nazik says, “The mentoring that they provided was just amazing and I was meeting with mentors monthly during my college career. It was such a positive influence just to have somebody check on me and motivate me – because going to college is not easy, and anyone whose been through it can attest to that. And, I didn’t have much support from family members, so it was nice to have an outside resource that was available to dip into for motivation, and which also provided a path that helped me keep up with my grades and classes. It was during our meetings where I was really able to get a sense of motivation and understand that somebody was looking at me to succeed, and I felt that I couldn’t let this person down because they had done so much for me. So, I was succeeding in college not only for myself, but also for the people who believed in me.”
Meanwhile, getting back to living and working in Los Angeles, “It kind of does feel like home, because it’s close enough to home (Arizona) so that I have easy access to my original home. And, it’s just so different from the Bay Area because the weather is more like Arizona. San Francisco is beautiful, but the fog and gloomy cold weather was just something that my body’s not accustomed to. So, moving further south and having an actual summer has been a nice change.”
For middle and high school students considering their own college options and opportunities, Nazik has some advice, “My ultimate advice is to figure out what you want as soon as possible, because once you figure out what you want you can start working towards it, and you won’t waste any time. And, once you figure out exactly what you want to do and what you want to commit your life to, you truly will never work a day in your life. Sometimes, these career paths we chose for ourselves can seem so unattainable and so difficult to reach but you just have to keep at it, because where there’s a will there’s a way.”
Nazik adds that college can open many doors, “The best part of college is being in college. I grew up in a very impoverished household and having the ability to be in college gave me such a strong sense of self-worth. And, I’ve always been very excited about learning and constantly knowing that I was going to step into a classroom and learn something that I did not know before. College just kept continually expanding my mind, and knowledge, and built me into a person who can give back to society and to the community. And, remember it all started with me stepping into the classroom on the college campus and learning something. My family was pretty absent and I haven’t had my parents in my life since I was 14 years old, and my siblings were busy with their own lives and what they were doing, So, it was a pretty lonely journey and I think that’s what I took away so much gratitude from my college experience, because it was such a tough journey and I’ve had to overcome on my own.”
Since 2005, College Success Arizona has worked with nearly 1,300 students, and provided more than 16 million dollars in scholarships and success services to help increase the college attainment rate in Arizona. If you would like to be part of the mission of providing educational opportunity to high potential students from low income circumstances, your tax-deductible contribution can be made through the “Donate” button on the top of this page.