School of Nursing 2024 graduate understands the power of a nurse’s voice

Dayelsy “Day” Navarrete Alvarez, School of Nursing graduate, Class of 2024
Dayelsy “Day” Navarrete Alvarez, School of Nursing graduate, Class of 2024


In the grand symphony of life, every individual note still resonates. Dayelsy “Day” Navarrete Alvarez contains an inner melody as rich as her name.

Born in Mexico and transplanted to San Antonio at the tender age of three, Alvarez will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio’s School of Nursing. Her pathway to here reflects a harmonious mix of passion and purpose.

“In high school I played three instruments: the violin, trumpet and vocals,” she said. “Everyone tells me that if you can sing, count your voice as an instrument.”

In Alvarez’s opinion, nursing is more akin to musical composition than one might realize. It’s the perfect blend of heart and mind, the fusion of her love for both humanity and the intricate workings of the human body.

“Nursing is having compassion for people while also having the ability to use knowledge and clinical judgment. In that way, it challenges my mind.”


A nurse’s voice

The testing of knowledge was not the only trial Alvarez expected to find as she entered patient care. She knew the occupation would push her out of her comfort zone.

School of Nursing student Dayelsy Navarrete Alvarez dons a pregnancy belly for a simulation exercise
School of Nursing student Dayelsy Navarrete Alvarez dons a pregnancy belly for a simulation exercise, gaining firsthand insight into the challenges and changes faced by expectant mothers.

“Nurses face a lot of challenges everywhere with what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as short staffing, burnout and unsafe work environments, but it didn’t deter me.”

What she didn’t know until her training was that she could be a beacon of change in those areas by using a long-treasured instrument: her voice.

“Nurses can do something about all those parts of the job. Our curriculum teaches us how to join professional organizations that help to influence laws and implement policies that protect us and our patients,” Alvarez said.

“One of the first things I learned when I arrived was that nurses have been the number one most trusted profession in over 20 years,” she said. “A nurse’s voice matters.”

According to a 2024 Gallup poll, 78% of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “high” or “very high.” The nursing profession has taken the top spot for 22 consecutive years.

That information reverberated within Alvarez to the extent that she not only endeavored to join the conversation but to be a leader of it.

She is a member of the university’s Student Government Association, elected as one of two representatives for her cohort. She also serves as community service chair for her class’s government body and president of the student-led UT Health Pride organization.

Through her participation in these groups, Alvarez has been able to hone her voice by developing skills in communication, leadership and problem-solving. Her experiences in community outreach and care have led to productive conversations among her faculty and peers that identified key issues to which health care providers can develop strategic solutions.

“I am honored to have contributed to organizations dedicated to promoting cultural diversity, equitable health care and student unity. Together, we’ve made a meaningful impact on our campus, encouraged inclusivity, advocacy and all-around excellence in health care,” she said.


Care equity

Alvarez prepares to leave the health science center with an ethos of integrity and compassion, ready to infuse empathy into every interaction.

Recalling an anecdote from one of her professors, Alvarez said that when San Antonio emergency personnel received victims of the Robb Elementary school shooting that occurred in Uvalde, Texas, they also received the perpetrator.

“Thinking about how I would respond if put in the same situation makes me confront my biases. We can’t pick and choose the kind of people we want to serve. I may completely disagree with the person in my care, but my job will be to provide equal care to everyone regardless,” she said.

“As a health provider, you see patients from every walk of life. You see them right in the midst of difficult situations, moments that were unplanned. No matter what kind of day you’re having, your job is to be compassionate to that person and do what you can to help,” said Alvarez. “That’s the job I’m signing up for.”


Changing lives

With a new voice of empathy and a heart attuned to the rhythms of social justice, Alvarez will enter directly into patient care after graduation. She envisions a future intertwined with women’s health and is open to the possibility of a graduate school education.

“Even before I went into nursing school, my mantra was always, ‘I want someone to say I’ve changed their life because of the care I’ve provided.’ It just so happens that UT Health San Antonio’s tagline is ‘We make lives better,’ and it’s true,” Alvarez said. “We really are changing lives.”


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