Brothers graduate together, earn nursing degrees

Two brothers who are 10 years apart graduated on the same day from the School of Nursing.

Written by: Erica Techo
Media Contact: Alicia Rohan 

mendiola webBrothers Chad Mendiola (left) and Carl Mendiola are 10 years apart in age, and both graduated with their BSN on August 11.Even though brothers Carl and Chad Mendiola are 10 years apart in age, they have reached a new milestone together — earning their bachelor’s degrees in nursing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. On Aug. 11, Carl Mendiola graduated from the school’s RN to BSN Mobility Program, and Chad Mendiola graduated from the traditional BSN program.

“For me, honestly, everything felt like it fell into place, so I hadn’t given it much thought until I picked up my gown and saw our names right beside each other,” said Chad Mendiola, the younger of the two brothers. “That’s when it hit me that we’re both getting this degree; we’re graduating together.”

With a dad who is a physician and a mom who is a nurse, Carl and Chad Mendiola always planned to enter the medical field. They started out as pre-med, but both transitioned to nursing.

“I was here long before Chad was,” Carl Mendiola said. “I’m proud that he’s gotten to this point a lot faster than me. I took the long way around because I originally graduated from UAB with a degree in biology, then worked as a phlebotomist, got my associate degree in nursing at Jefferson State, and then came back for my BSN.”

During his time as a phlebotomist, he realized the impact nurses have on patients and their care and chose to make a career change. Nursing is also more personal, Carl Mendiola says, which made it a better fit.

As a pre-med student, Chad Mendiola says, one of his classes served as the turning point toward nursing.

“In that class, I realized that, in terms of providing care, the mindset of physicians and my mindset were completely different; but I saw similarities between pre-nursing students and myself,” he said. “I started shadowing nurses and realized they actually understand patients on a different level than physicians. Nurses cared about helping the person, rather than just solving a problem.”

Having a brother in nursing helped, Chad Mendiola says, as he could learn from his older brother’s experience.

“In every sense of the phrase, Carl has been a role model for me. I’ve learned from his mistakes and his victories, and that’s what big brothers are for — to make your mistakes for you,” he said. “My mom is also a role model, so I talked with them about changing my degree and found that nursing was what I was meant to do.”

Throughout their education, Carl and Chad Mendiola say, their family, including their sister Charlene Mendiola, have been nothing but supportive. They even have a family group text where they can talk through questions and learn from one another.

“We’ve always been able to learn from our parents, too, as far as the situations we encounter,” said Carl Mendiola. “If we’re learning something in case, we can always go to them with questions. And when Chad comes to me with a question, it’s a nice refresher. Honestly, we couldn’t have done without our family. As far as support goes, we couldn’t ask for anyone better.”

“Our parents have undying loyalty, and they have supported us through everything — especially when we don’t deserve it,” Chad Mendiola said in agreement. “It’s amazing. We’ll never be able to pay them back.”