School of Nursing Faculty Highlight: Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., R.N., M.B.A.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse for the vital role they play in providing health services. TTUHSC El Paso joins the WHO in a year-long effort to celebrate the work of nurses and highlighting the challenging conditions they often face in the workforce. In celebration, we invite you to get to know some of our Hunt School of Nursing faculty who are shaping the future of health care for the Borderland. They are dedicated to excellence and committed to care. 

This month’s highlight features Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., R.N., M.B.A., assistant dean for the R.N. to B.S.N. Track, and assistant professor for the Hunt School of Nursing.

Perseverance describes the essence of being a nurse. A bump in the journey toward becoming a health care hero may dissuade some from reaching their goals, but for Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., R.N., M.B.A., assistant dean for the R.N. to B.S.N. Track, and assistant professor for the Hunt School of Nursing, bumps are what shaped him into the nurse and educator he is today.

The support and sometimes chaotic cajoling of others has pushed Santa Cruz down his career path.

Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., R.N., M.B.A.,

Manny Santa Cruz, D.N.P., R.N., M.B.A.,

“I dropped out of nursing school three times,” recalled Santa Cruz. “If my parents hadn’t given me an ultimatum, I wouldn’t have finished. I would’ve never done it on my own.”

For Santa Cruz, an R.N. credential was followed by graduate school in his 40s at the encouragement of his employers.

“I love patient care, but I grew to love academia,” he said.

After receiving his D.N.P. and M.B.A, Santa Cruz joined the faculty of the Hunt School of Nursing six years ago this November. Currently, 75% of students from the Hunt School of Nursing are El Paso natives, fulfilling TTUHSC El Paso’s mission to create more educational opportunities for Borderland residents. As a fellow El Pasoan, Santa Cruz has a shared academic and cultural experience with his students, who drive his commitment to personal growth in the nursing field.

“I’m pushed by students to be an outstanding professor. In turn, I guide them through real-word experiences and the world of academia.”

Grace in the face of turbulence is a lasting life lesson Santa Cruz imparts on his students as nurses and as individuals.

“It’s easy to quit, it isn’t easy to persevere,” he said.