• Harold Latshaw

Full time Nursing Professors Support Our Community by Fight COVID at Frontlines.

As COVID cases continue to surge in York Pennsylvania, York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) full time nursing faculty is continuing to serve the community during this difficult time.

The college semester maybe be over for the students, but for some YCP full-time faculty that time off allows them to give more hours to our community and serve at the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Colleen Marshall, Ph.D., CRNP, Director of Graduate Programs at York College of Pennsylvania is serving as a provider at one of the local testing sites in the area. She states “I worked last night, and we tested 220 people for COVID that day. The number is increasing each day.”

Dr. Marshall feels that working on the front line allows her to stay current with her practice and most importantly she is able to help during this crisis. She states: “there is a huge need for primary care providers. Being A Nurse Practitioner allows me to there”

“Initially treating COVID-19 patients was scary, more so because of the unknown,” Dr. Marshall said. “As a nurse practitioner, I try to remember to approach each patient holistically, not only treat them as just someone that has a virus but as an individual person dealing with a scary disease. In the testing center, I see vulnerable patients and provide treatment and community resources to restore their health to the fullest potential.” When asked how is working at the front line helping you to be more effective in your faculty role Dr. Marshall answered “I work with graduate students, students that work full time and work at the bedside, and in their free time they go to school to complete their advanced nursing degree such as Master of Since in Nursing. Our students are busy and seeing a faculty that is teaching them and working at the front lines gives me more credibility and respect. They can see that I do what I preach. I like to lead my students to become better nurse practitioners and educators by example.”

When asked if she feels safe on the job Dr. Marshall said: “This is just as any other disease, the most important is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We are using N-95 masks, face shields, gloves, and gowns when testing the patients. Hand hygiene is paramount. As a scientist I know that when I am using correct PPE and wash my hands I am protected, so yes, I feel safe.”

Dr. Klaudia Ćwiękała-Lewis, Ph.D., APHN, Director of Transfer and Pre-Nursing Programs at York YCP is serving as a visiting nurse, at one of the local visiting nurse Agency (VNA). She states: “it is a privilege to be able to help patients during this difficult time. Hospitals are overwhelmed and patients are recovering from COVID at home, having a visiting nurse come to their home and do an assessment, provide education and emotional support is an important part of patient recovery.” Dr. Ćwiękała-Lewis visits COVID patients at their homes. She as well feels safe while providing patient care, however, she sees different challenges as a visiting nurse, her office is her car. She needs to disinfect all the equipment after each patient visit and also disinfect her car. That is not stopping her for serving her community. Dr. Ćwiękała-Lewis is a community public health nurse and she also is teaching a community nursing course at YCP. As a professor, she likes to inspire new nurses to become community public health nurses. By working in her community and helping in crisis she helps a new nurse understand the concept of community nursing and public health nursing as well as the importance of epidemiology. She stated “I teach my students about basic epidemiology, and by working at the beside I am living proof that by following the correct PPE and following the correct epidemiology concept they can help their community and stay safe. It is all about the correct use of PPE, hand hygiene, and appropriate respiratory hygiene.”

Several full-time faculty members joined the Southcentral PA Medical Reserve Unit and are ready to helped with administration of COVID-19 vaccination. Many of our adjunct faculty are working on the frontline today. Some of them at the bedside, some as advance practice nurses, some in-contact tracing roles. There is a saying in the nursing world “Once a nurse always a nurse” and nurses are programed to serve others in need, and that is what we do, Dr. Marshall said.

Written by Harold Latshaw

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