Lidia Compeán has humble beginnings. When she was born, her mother was just 15 years old; her father only 18. Despite their hardships, Lidia remembers her father emphasizing the importance of education, perhaps because his own education was so limited. “In his own way, he always pushed me and my siblings to grow up,” she says.
The idea of a career in healthcare began to intrigue Lidia as a young teenager. The public university in her native Tamaulipas, Mexico, strongly promoted nursing, too, so the idea took hold early on.
“In Mexico, nursing students do clinical practices beginning in the first year, so by my third semester, I had already been in real contact with people in some communities and hospitals,” says Compeán. “I could see the dynamic in the community centers with the physicians, nurses, and social workers, and could see the needs. I also saw the commitment and enthusiasm in all of them including my professors from the university. At that time, I was sure that I wanted to be a nurse.”
Compeán began her pursuit of nursing as a profession by earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing science and her master’s degree in higher education both at Autonomous University of Tamaulipas, School of Nursing in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. She continued her education through Autonomous University of Nuevo León location in Monterrey, Mexico, earning another master’s degree focused on community health and a doctorate degree in nursing science. She now proudly serves as a research professor at her alma mater (Autonomous University of Tamaulipas) teaching community health to undergraduate students and methodology of research to graduate students. Her main responsibility is in research projects focused on people at risk of diabetes or with diabetes, self-care behaviors, healthy lifestyles, and families.
Compeán first learned of STTI while studying for her master’s degree in nursing science. The program was coordinated by the School of Nursing at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, which carried the responsibility of the Tau Alpha Chapter.
“The professors talked about the importance of being part of STTI to try to do something for our profession at the global level … It was in 2004 when I was in the beginning of my doctoral program when I had the opportunity to be inducted [into the Tau Alpha Chapter].” Since her induction, Compeán participated as the delegate of Tau Alpha Chapter at the 39th Biennial Convention in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, has served on Tau Alpha Chapter’s leadership committee (2008-2010), and also was elected chapter treasurer from 2010-2012.
Certainly, STTI has provided Compeán a set of valuable tools and resources to support her in her career. Recently she was awarded a grant from the Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing to further her diabetes research with a project entitled: “Learning to live with diabetes.”
“Type 2 diabetes is a big public health problem around the world, including Mexico,” asserts Compeán. “Many efforts have been made, but people with diabetes, especially low income people, face problems with self-care behaviors … that affect their daily life.” This research will test the feasibility of intervention for Mexican context.
Compeán asked to use this web profile as a means to recognize two of her mentors: Esther Gallegos, PhD, from the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, School of Nursing in Monterrey, Mexico; and Diane Berry, PhD, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Nursing, North Carolina, USA. She is grateful for their support (both personal and professional), as well as the encouragement to take risks and help in opening doors to new opportunities.