STUDENT SUCCESS HOME > MIRA CASTANEDA
College of Health and Human Services
Mira Castaneda is determined to use her education and experience to be a driving force for advancing nursing practices.
Growing up in the province of Antique in the Philippines, Castaneda knew from a young age that she wanted to be a nurse. Other family members worked in the nursing field. She saw the contributions they were able to make and wanted to be a part of that.
“Nurses can make a difference in people’s lives,” she says.
The 46-year-old Castaneda is a student in the Southern California CSU Doctor of Nursing Practice Consortium, a program that allows students to earn their doctoral degree in nursing practice at Cal State LA and two other CSU schools. She is a recipient of a prestigious Jonas Nurse Scholar award, which recognizes students who are committed to improving the care of veterans.
She completed her bachelor's degree at Iloilo Doctors College in the Philippines before coming to the United States. She began working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in 2006, earning her master’s degree in nursing from University of Phoenix in 2009.
Currently working at a VA facility in Long Beach, Castaneda serves as the chief of Patient Care Services, a position she was promoted to in 2014.
Castaneda says it is fulfilling to help improve the quality of life for patients who have sacrificed for their country.
“It’s so heartwarming and meaningful when you’re working with people who have contributed to the freedom of this country,” she says.
She helped develop a uniform system for staff members that allows patients to better identify who to ask for assistance based on uniform color. Castaneda says this system has helped patients be more comfortable around nursing staff and has smoothed the flow of the facility. She is also working on a project to prevent patients from falling down and injuring themselves, which can cause a rapid decline in their health.
“First I want to prevent future falls and then get it so we have zero falls,” she says. “That’s the goal.”
She says the Doctor of Nursing Program has had the biggest impact on her career so far. Her doctoral project focuses on her work to prevent patients from falling.
“If I had a chance to do it again I would have the same decision,” she says. “Because of what I have learned at Cal State LA I can now connect all the dots of my skills and knowledge and translate it to my practice.”