Angelys Centeno recalls knowing she wanted to become a nurse from early on. Now, she is a registered nurse with one year of medical-surgical nursing experience, and she is pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in psychiatry as a full-time student with about two years to go.
Angelys was drawn to the variety in the nursing profession as there are many pathways and specialties nurses can take in the field.
“This is a profession where you can put yourself in different situations at all times,” Angelys says. “You don’t just have to do one thing if you’re not happy with it.”
She was inspired to pursue her DNP in psychiatry because her parents — also members of the medical field — owned group homes while she was growing up. Through these homes, they provided care and housing to patients with mental disabilities and disorders.
“I grew up around the psych area and I’m just a really big advocate,” Angelys says. “The majority of the psych patients, we want to label — like ‘Oh, they have a mental disorder’ — if only you sat and listened to their story and simply talked to them, it’s much more than a label of a mental disorder.”
Angelys also chose the psychiatry pathway because of its flexibility and the current shortage of nurse practitioners in that specialty.
Although she has only been working in nursing for a year, Angelys has already been recognized with a Patient First award — an honor given to a nurse who takes an action emphasizing patient advocacy. In Angelys’s case, the action for which she was rewarded helped save a patient’s life.
“Especially nowadays with nurses, you don’t get compliments,” Angelys says. “You clock in; you do your job; and you’re expected to do no harm, to treat your patients and do your job. When you get recognized for something, I think it’s really special and it makes you love your job even more.”
However, Angelys does not limit herself to the nursing field. She is also active on TikTok, where she uses her platform to share her experiences as a nurse.
However, posting on TikTok brought her much more than a way to share her story — it also spurred her jewelry business, ACSHOPCO. Angelys loves wearing jewelry, and she noticed her viewers beginning to comment on her videos about her nursing-related jewelry.
During the pandemic, Angelys and her sister created their jewelry brand, and it became successful.
Angelys derives her inspiration from her own taste in jewelry, and she aims to create pieces that are affordable for everyone, including nursing students. Her favorite piece — which also happens to be the most successful piece in the entire collection — is a sterling silver EKG necklace.
“I love it because it is just so dainty, you can wear it to work and it is of high quality as well,” Angelys says.
Angelys has struggled to balance her job, school, business and social media presence. However, she is inspired by other women around her, especially mothers.
“Sometimes it is difficult trying to manage all of this together, but people do four or five jobs with kids,” Angelys says. “I’m single. I don’t have any of that, so where’s my excuse?”
To juggle multiple roles, Angelys emphasizes consistency, determination and belief in one’s own capabilities. The most important thing, she says, is to “keep showing up.”
“It doesn’t mean anything if you have all these projects without giving your all,” Angelys says. “Why are you even doing it? If you only have one hour to give for this project, make sure it’s a high-quality one hour.”
However, Angelys also views rest as an important part of balance.
“There are days our bodies ask for rest, and that’s OK,” Angelys says. “That’s all part of the process. That’s all part of living. In a sense, we can do it all.”
As she moves forward, Angelys hopes to gain more critical care experience, graduate DNP school and work in a hospital to gain experience and eventually work in telehealth or open her own practice. For ACSHOPCO, she and her sister plan to rebrand and incorporate new pieces that appeal to a wider audience to expand the target audience beyond the medical field.
Keep up with Angelys on Instagram @angelyscenteno and TikTok @angelyscenteno8. Stay tuned for new jewelry pieces from ACSHOPCO by following its Instagram @ac.shopco. Angelys encourages nursing students to reach out to her with questions about her journey!