Growing up, Enrique Quintanilla-Riviere was into cars, anticipating becoming a mechanical engineer. But there was one problem.
“There’s a lot of math involved with that field and I quickly learned math wasn’t for me,” laughed the Western Nursing student. “So it was like, ‘Now what do I do?”
Today, Quintanilla-Riviere cannot wait to be a nurse. Following his mother into the profession, he recalls a specific moment when he got that boost of confidence to pursue nursing.
“I was sick quite a bit in high school. One time at the hospital, there was a male nurse there and he was so cool and so chill, I found that inspiring,” he said. “There were barely any male nurses at that time that I saw. He was a real role model.’”
Beginning his third year in the program, Quintanilla-Riviere was recently selected as one of 17 students to receive a Canadian Hearing Society (CHS) scholarship, offered to deaf and hard-of-hearing postsecondary students. This is the second time he won the award.
The CHS national scholarship program helps students with their added accessibility costs many other students don’t experience. Winners are chosen based on their community service, letters of reference and essays detailing how the scholarship will transform the future of deaf and hard of hearing individuals.
King’s University College student Corinna Den Dekker, a Disability Studies major, also received a CHS scholarship.
For Quintanilla-Riviere, the $3,000 scholarship will help alleviate additional expenses he incurred for his program, including a specialized amplified stethoscope.
Outside of heavy bass sounds, Quintanilla-Riviere cannot hear without the help of his cochlear implant, which he got when he was 5 years old.
For medical professionals who are hard of hearing, traditional stethoscope can be frustrating and ineffective. “Everyone has a regular stethoscope, but I can’t hear through those,” he explained.
However, an electronic amplified stethoscope helps compensate for hearing loss. It is a powerful tool that lets him go about his daily tasks without concern.
Since coming to Western, Quintanilla-Riviere has come into his own socially. He recalls the difficulty of going through elementary school, and parts of high school, as the hard-of-hearing student.
“You don’t develop those social skills with other normal hearing students,” he said. “I noticed a change in my first year of postsecondary, when I had to speak up for myself, talk to other students. That has helped me.”
It has also helped him zero in on where he wants to take his nursing career. While no fan of theory – although he admits its relevance – he is more attracted to the opportunity “to be on the front line” when it comes to making a difference in someone’s life.
“I’ve always been a compassionate person and enjoyed helping others in the community. It’s part of my nature,” said Quintanilla-Riviere, who look to specialize in neurology. “Nursing is a lot of one-on-one with patients. I’m enjoying those social dynamics, being able to interact with the patients.”