CBU nursing faculty serving on the front lines of coronavirus pandemic
June 2, 2020 (Riverside, Calif.) – Andrea Abrams, a nurse at Riverside Community Hospital, has been on the front line assisting COVID-19 patients in the intensive care unit. Abrams is also an adjunct professor of nursing at California Baptist University and during the past spring semester, she remotely shared the lessons she learned while working in these unprecedented times.
“I am able to really help students understand the importance of hand hygiene, PPE [personal protective equipment] use and infection control,” Abrams said. “It’s the donning and doffing of PPE that has become a very important skill.”
Abrams (’13, ’17) is one of several CBU College of Nursing faculty who are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is so much to learn right now, for both the novice and experienced nurse,” Abrams said. “I can say that I will do my best to ensure that students look at the patient as a whole person, not just their diagnosis or disease.”
Abrams has family members on the front line, too. Her husband is a respiratory therapist and her oldest son is an emergency medical technician.
To prepare for work, Abrams prays and mediates. Her unit has initiated a time of prayer 10 minutes prior to the start of a shift.
“Initially treating COVID-19 patients was scary, more so because of the unknown,” Abrams said. “As nurse I try to remember that it is not a virus I am fighting, it is a patient I am treating.”
Grasiela Campbell (’13, 18), adjunct professor of nursing, works at Kaiser Medical Center in Ontario, California.
With COVID-19, there is an underlying anxiety because of the unknowns about the virus, Campbell said.
“To me, I always come to work and have the same mindset—I pray to the Lord that He will send me to where He wants me to be and meet the people that He wants me to meet and show them God's love through my work,” Campbell said.
Campbell has shared stories with her students, on how she has been able to help COVID-19 patients.
“I like to spend time with my patients, getting to know them. I talk with them and offer to pray for them,” Campbell said. “What I emphasize with my students is that these patients do not need to be treated differently because they already feel isolated and alone.”
For the spring semester, Dinah Herrick, assistant professor of nursing, was the clinical instructor for 10 students. Midway through the semester, she discovered that half of the group had cared for COVID-19 patients.
“I asked how they felt about it and they said that ‘we care for them like the other patients.’ I thought maybe they would be scared of the whole situation,” said Herrick, who is a wound expert nurse for Emanate Health located in Los Angeles county. “But I saw courage in them which made me proud.”
Herrick also shared her own experiences with COVID-19 patients to her students. Herrick said that she finds purpose in caring especially for patients who come from nursing homes and are not allowed to have visitors.
“I treat COVID19 patients the way I treat the non-COVID patients, with dignity and respect,” she said.
Herrick comes from a nursing family. Her two sisters are nurses and her two sons are CBU graduates and are nurse practitioners.
“I am very proud of our younger generation of nurses who showed courage in caring for COVID-19 patients,” Herrick said. “They just performed well. They put on their PPE and went to the patient’s room and cared for them.”