CBU nursing students fit tested for N95 masks
Riverside, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2021) – The College of Nursing at California Baptist University fitted nearly 575 nursing students with the N95 masks earlier this semester.
“The fitting represents another layer of safety and protection as the students continue in their clinicals,” said Dr. Karen Bradley, dean of the College of Nursing.
The N95 mask is designed to achieve a close facial fit and has an efficient filtration that keeps out airborne particles. Earlier in the pandemic, the N95 was in short supply.
“The mask fits differently,” said Dr. Teresa Hamilton, associate professor of nursing. “They are super tight. You have to be fit tested in order to ensure a good seal. If any air escapes in, then it’s not protecting you.”
Students will have the mask if their clinical rotations bring them into possible contact with COVID-19 patients. Since the pandemic started, the students’ clinical sites and/or the College of Nursing have provided students with personal protective equipment as needed.
Nikizen Boco, a nursing junior, wears the N95 when she goes to a clinical at a hospital. She said she appreciated the fitting.
“It helps us know how masks are supposed to fit properly rather than just slapping it on our face and hoping it works,” Boco said.
Twenty-three CBU faculty were trained to do the fitting by medical professionals from the Riverside Medical Clinic. They, in turn, fitted other faculty and the students.
Recently, Hamilton and Melissa Anozie, assistant professor of nursing, fitted first-semester nursing students. To test the fit, Anozie sprayed a sweet-scented spray into a hood the student wears at the same time they are wearing the mask.
“If at any time you sense it, smell it, taste it, let me know,” Anozie instructed. Each time she sprayed into the hood, Anozie would ask the student to bend over, turn her head or talk.
This is like “introduction to nursing by fire,” Anozie said.
Hamilton, who has been a nurse for 30 years, has dealt with the scares of HIV and Ebola.
“But there’s been nothing like this,” Hamilton said. “The students are seeing what we have all been preparing for.”
Julia Keplar, a nursing sophomore, said she was both nervous and excited to go into nursing during this time.
“Fitting the mask was a different experience. It’s cool to know you’re prepared if you need to be,” Keplar said. “It’s a very good learning experience to start now and get experience when things aren’t normal.”
Tatum Romberger, a nursing sophomore, said the fitting will help her feel protected if she is exposed. She is following the footsteps of her father, who was a nurse.
“I’m excited to start my studies. I know there is a lot going on,” Romberger said. “It’s just exciting to think I’ll be prepared to go help.”
Bradley said the nursing faculty are trying to navigate the pandemic as they support the students and the community.
“It's definitely an interesting time to be going into the profession,” Bradley said.
“The students are getting to experience something that we often talk about in the
literature but we've never seen in real life.”