Q & A with a Nurse

Doreen Tomlinson, Hostos ’12, Registered Nurse at Bronx Lebanon Special Care Center

This interview was conducted by Felix Sánchez, Alumni Relations Manager, on 7/21/2020, and has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: How have you been involved in the city's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and how has your role changed?

A: I have a lot of responsibilities. I work in long-term care, which means I work in a nursing home. I do routine care and rehab work. Most of the time, especially with COVID-19, I was on the unit as a charge nurse, and some of my responsibilities included medication and IV administration. I also ensured that the unit was running smoothly. I had to make sure that I updated the patient’s family on the patient’s well-being. Right now, things are getting back to normal, but in March and April it was very hectic, very stressful and sometimes we were short staffed. I had to step up and be there whenever I was available.

Q: How has your job and role during the crisis impacted you personally, professionally, emotionally, and physically?

A: It was a very emotional time for me, and it still is. I think it has changed my whole outlook —the way I look at life in general. I’ve learned to appreciate life more and appreciate things more. I have more empathy, and now I place more emphasis on being empathetic and humble. I have really been embracing those characteristics. It was a life-changing situation which has brought us together in a very emotional way.

Q: What advice do you have for others entering your field during a time of crisis?

A: Nursing is one of the world’s oldest professions. It can seem very daunting to people outside of the field, especially in light of what's going on. But I welcome them to the profession, because it is very rewarding to the person and also to the patients that they care for. Some of these patients hear your voice like it’s a medicine that you give to them. It makes a big difference in their lives. I think that is very rewarding.

Q: What have you observed of COVID-19's impact on your field, your community, your city, or nationally?

A: In the midst of the pandemic, it was frightening. I think many of us were scared because we didn't know what we were dealing with. Although we were fearful, we persisted with taking care of our patients and residents because they come first. There’s nobody else to take care of them. We have to step up; we have to do it. All in all, I think it had a negative impact in the midst of the pandemic. It has a negative impact on us as a whole, because we did not know how to deal with some aspects of the situation.

Q: Please share your message with Hostos graduates during this difficult time.

A: I will tell them to follow their passion and purpose and stay true to themselves. Always remember to have empathy and to give the best care possible.

This Q&A has been edited for style and length.

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