Roxborough Hospital’s nursing students step up to help
during crisis in the Fight Against COVID-19
As the impact of COVID-19 was being felt throughout the
Philadelphia area over the last three months, students at Roxborough School of
Nursing stepped up to lend a hand.
From the beginning of March, seniors in the Roxborough
nursing program volunteered at Roxborough Memorial Hospital to help anyway they
could, from answering phones, calming patients, assisting staff with COVID-19
screenings, and easing the minds of patients experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or
anxiety related to the pandemic.
“The students were quick learners and were able to use their
critical thinking skills,” said Roxborough School of Nursing Dean Paulina
Marra-Powers RN, EdD, MSN. “There are some things you can’t teach, like
empathic listening, and these students did really well.”
The volunteers came at an opportune time as beds at
Roxborough filled with COVID-19 patients, overwhelming staff and leaving the
hospital with immense challenges.
“The students stepped up when they learned the organization
needed nursing students to act in extern roles,” said Academic Coordinator and
Nursing Instructor Louise Augenbraun RN, MSN. “They needed to multitask, and deal with some
very worried and scared patients. They were able to calm nerves, and they knew
what to say to the patients and their families to ease their minds, especially
when asked about recent businesses that were closing in the area.”
Marra-Powers said the experience was invaluable for the
“I think they are gaining a new appreciation for public
health and what public health means,” she said. “And it’s reflective of the
level of civic engagement they have.”
Nursing student volunteers said their training at Roxborough
School of Nursing prepared them to help during an unprecedented public health
“When Roxborough Memorial Hospitals cases increased, I just
jumped in and answered their calls for assistance,” said nursing student
Nicoletta Carson 24, of Roxborough.
Nursing student Vickie Phan, 26 of Northeast Philadelphia,
was working in different sections of the hospital based on staffing needs each
“The pandemic is obviously something that has changed the
entire world, so as many helping hands will help any department in need,” she
said. “I’m glad to be a part of it. It’s a great start to a good career as far
as helping people and saving lives.”
Nursing student Zhino Rasheed 36, of Philadelphia who moved
here from Sulaymaniya, Iraq, said she was overwhelmed at first.
“As I helped with cases, I realized, yes, I was prepared,” she
said. “The nice thing about being a senior nursing student is we have seen all
varieties of patients and medical treatments.
In this case, it wasn’t so much about medicine, but about interacting
with different patients and staff, just like we did in our clinical rotations.”
While she is still applying to job offers in the
Philadelphia area, Alexis Moros, 27 of Philadelphia, said she is not worried
about working around patients with COVID-19. In fact, she actually wishes she
could head north to a state like New York, where the need for nurses is greater
than here at home.
“I’m an eager nursing student and I’m ready to get started.
I want to help where I’m most needed,” she said.
“I’ve never worked
anywhere where the students are so engaged,” Dr. Marra-Powers said. “Most of
them do between 24 to 100 hours of community service each semester, from
community senior center events, staffing a first aid tent at the Roxborough
Bike Marathon and Roxborough Day, to creating food baskets for the community.
We have amazing students.”
For more information about the nursing program, visit https://www.roxboroughmemorial.com/School-of-Nursing.aspx
or call 215-487-4344.