ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Jessica Dominguez is a friendly face at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center. She started at the College of Nursing in 1995 and is now the coordinator for patient grievances.

She also understands what it’s like to be a patient.

Dominguez underwent breast cancer surgery nine years ago.

“It was a journey,” she said. “I think I categorize my life. I think back as my life before cancer and after the cancer. I honestly have to say, it’s been a positive journey because you see how family and friends and your coworkers and everyone helps and pitches in. And, I have a strong faith base, and I strive to have my relationship with God. So yeah, but the grace of God, I’m here.”

Now, she uses her personal experience to assist cancer patients.

“I try to remember the feelings, the overwhelmingness, the uncertainty of what tomorrow is going to bring,” she recalled. “So, when I speak to patients, I may not have all the answers, but I want to be able to leave them with a sense of, ok, Jess is going to help get me what I need.”

As the daughter of a Texas father who spoke English and a Mexican mother who spoke Spanish, Dominguez is fully bilingual and can help translate for patients throughout the hospital.

“Honestly, I grew up speaking Spanglish — a little bit of both languages. And so, when I started high school, I dove right into Spanish classes. I wanted to be able to read, and understand, and write,” she said.