Q and A with Hostos Alumna Ronette Shaw ‘04

Nursing Professor, Hostos Community College



Q: How have you been involved in our city's response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

​A: With the ongoing national response to Covid-19, our communities have experienced devastating setbacks notable to the healthcare system and our economy. Our students at Hostos face uncertainty both in their personal lives and with the transition to distance learning. My involvement with the COVID-19 epidemic has been most rewarding in the area of ensuring our students are provided with the proper information and resources to make informed decisions to patient care. I remain in constant contact with our current students who enrolled in our nursing program and our past graduates. Past graduates continue to share their experiences while on the frontlines, and as a faculty at Hostos Community College, I am proud of the immense work our graduates are doing and the bravery our current graduates have to continue the journey to completing the nursing program and enter into the field. They have voices concerns and often have questions surrounding the state of Healthcare. While no one has all the answers, reassuring our students that they have both the skills and knowledge to meet the needs of our patients continues to be a comforting focus. The students preparing to enter the healthcare field need the support of our communities and reassurance that they have the talents and critical thinking skills to deliver optimal care. Past graduates who have kept in contact with me, share their experiences, including concerns and triumphs. 


Q: On average, how many patients have you treated since the pandemic started?

A: This pandemic led to transitions in how we provide instruction for our nursing students. Today we are providing distant learning through virtual instruction. As a result of online learning, faculty work tirelessly to apply innovative measures for lectures and clinical education. Considering the learning needs of our students remains paramont with the use of blackboard collaborate and other technology as sources of interactive support. 


Q: What lessons have you learned during this crisis?

A: With limitations to patient contact due to the need for PPE the importance of communication, empathy, and patience when caring for our patients was paramount. Patients entering the hospital are without family members and friends. Nurses being the direct providers are often the only means of communicating with the outside world and keeping patients connected to their families. One past graduate has reached out to me to share how face-timing has been one way she helps her patients keep in contact with their loved ones. Another student who recently graduated expressed how difficult it is for him to leave the bedside of his residents at the end of his shift because no visitors are allowed in the facilities at this time. This shows so much compassion for others.  

We are all learning to provide the most optimal care in an unusual situation. We must remain mindful of taking care of our physical and mental well-being as nurses caring for multiple ill and dying patients. Nurses are faced with numerous situations where they care for patients that are acutely ill and requiring intense nursing care, often do not recover. All of this can physically and emotionally impact the nurse providing direct care. Lessons I have learned from this pandemic that I believe are essential to share with the nursing students as they prepare to enter the field is to take care of themselves. Taking the time to talk about your experience, taking that much-needed break during the shift, remember that each member of the team has an essential role to successful patient care we must listen to our bodies and not overwork ourselves when possible. ,


Q: What is the best advice you have for upcoming medical/nursing professionals should future pandemics arise?

A: My advice to upcoming medical nursing professionals regarding future pandemic is now more than ever, how valuable their clinical skills, innovative approaches, and empathy for their clients are during this pandemic and any future pandemics we may face. I encourage current graduates and future nurses to consider the changes to health care delivery as a result of the current pandemic and stay abreast of the future policies and practices that emerge and influence the profession. The experience of nurses during this current epidemic can influence the impact or outcome of any future pandemic we may face in our country. 


Q: What would you like to tell our Hostos community based on your experiences?

A: What I would like to say to Hostos Community College is that everyone plays an essential role in combating the transmission of covid-19 and any virus for that matter. Basic hand washing and social distancing are just some measures instituted, as a community, we should continue to translate our concern and compassion for each other into our surrounding community and adhere to the necessary guidelines for all of us to remain safe.

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