By Caitlin Clark and Megan Hinners
Aniqueka Scott Moulton graduated from the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing in May 2019 as a member of the first cohort of the accelerated bachelor of science in nursing (ABSN) program, but she will be the first person to tell you that she didn’t always consider a career in nursing.
“Although two of my sisters are registered nurses, I never imagined that I, too, would become a registered nurse,” Moulton admits.
“After losing our father suddenly to a massive heart attack in 2003, my family became more health conscious. We wanted to help others to lead healthier lives, as well. I became involved in church health fairs, youth groups that visited sick people at the local hospital, and assisting with health education seminars.” —Aniqueka Scott Moulton ’19
Volunteerism & Service
While her path to a career in nursing has led her down multiple roads, it has been a journey that is deeply rooted in volunteerism and service to others. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Moulton became more involved in health care when she left her home and headed to Mexico to be a missionary English teacher at the Centro Misionero de Salud (Missionary Health Center) in Nuevo Leon.
There, Moulton taught English at the center’s secondary and elementary schools. After hours, she found herself receiving training in hydrotherapy, herbal treatments, massage therapy, spiritual care, plant-based cooking and baking, and leadership. “I had several opportunities to practice these skills at free community health fairs and churches,” says Moulton.
“Eventually, I taught community members simple, natural remedies and techniques they can apply at home. Although I was not at a conventional medical center, I was intrigued by the use of simple, natural remedies for health promotion and prevention of lifestyle-related illnesses.”
It helped spark an interest within that would eventually lead her to her current career path.
An International Education
Throughout the year she spent at the lifestyle center, she visited the University of Montemorelos (UM) and met her now friend and mentor, fellow Trinidadian, Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel. “At the time, he was the director of the School of Medicine and Public Health at the university,” Moulton says. “He talked to me about the master of public health (MPH) program with an emphasis in health administration, and encouraged me to apply. The MPH piqued my interest, and I felt that my previous training in administration would combine well with health care.”
Moulton applied to the program and was welcomed with open arms. After completing her studies at the UM, she was given the opportunity to work at Haiti Adventist Hospital in Port au Prince, Haiti, where she worked as the director of education and training, teaching English and basic computer skills to hospital staff every evening after work.
“Haiti was a challenging, yet amazing, experience,” Moulton confesses. As she was developing training plans, schedules, and calendars for hospital staff, she was also spending time organizing Red Cross blood donation drives and free community health clinics.
“Health care in Haiti is expensive, and access is limited, particularly for persons who live in rural areas,” Moulton points out. “The hospital’s administration was supportive of hosting these health clinics, but did not have funding for it. That is when I had the idea of buying Haitian paintings to raise funds for community health clinics.”
In the end, she was able to raise over $7,000 and had clinics up and running in a few months. It instilled a desire in her to want to do more and be more involved with patient care. This led to her decision to enroll in the ABSN program and join the ranks of Badger nurses.
Applying Global Experience to Local Work
Moulton is now a registered nurse for UW Health, working in the acute medical/progressive care unit where the team specializes in respiratory illness, including patients with cystic fibrosis and COVID-19.
“I have learned to appreciate my background and allow others to learn about other cultures through me.” —Aniqueka Scott Moulton ’19
“I enjoy interacting with patients the most and offering them hope,” says Moulton. “I often ask patients about themselves and what they like to do. I take the time to get to know them and take their minds off their current stressful situation for a moment. This is even more important for me now that I work with COVID-19 positive patients who do not have access to much human interaction.”
At a time when cultural competency is a proficiency that is needed more than ever in nursing, Moulton is using her diverse background and experiences to connect with patients on a deeper level in her day-to-day interactions. “I have learned to appreciate my background and allow others to learn about other cultures through me,” Moulton explains. “I see everyone as human beings worthy of respect and excellent care, regardless of their background, race, country of origin, sexual orientation, or education level. People often ask where I am from and I think that also helps them to realize that we are part of a global community.”
Moulton’s foundation in volunteerism drives her to continue to give to others through service so she can provide patients with the best care possible. “Throughout my experiences in my home country of Trinidad and Tobago, in Mexico, and in Haiti, I have seen firsthand how health care workers can help underserved populations by volunteering to do health screenings, and health lectures, or just by giving information of where people can access resources,” Moulton adds. “Nurses can make a positive impact through volunteerism.”