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USD Nursing Students in the Time of COVID-19

Published on: March 4, 2021

The personal sacrifices made by nurses during the pandemic cannot be overstated. Putting their own lives at risk, nurses work directly with patients to care for their needs, administer medications, and track progress. Some nurses have traveled across the country to help in hotspot zones. Many have worked without proper personal protective equipment (PPE). Still others are separated from their families for fear of spreading the virus. 

USD Nursing Students on the Frontlines

Since the start of the pandemic, the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing have been committed to delivering high-quality care, instruction, and assistance to both the university community and the community-at-large. Most recently, a group of USD Master's Entry in Nursing Program students distributed the COVID-19 vaccine to members of the local community.

Many of our nurses have put saving the lives of others ahead of their own safety and, in doing so, have left their mark on the fight to end the pandemic.

Here are the stories of three USD nursing students who have exemplified selflessness and perseverance in the time of COVID-19:

Elena Johns, Doctor of Nursing Practice Student

Last spring, Elena Johns, a hospice nurse in San Diego, volunteered to go to New York City to help during the initial coronavirus surge. She arrived on April 6 to work at an unnamed Brooklyn hospital for a month while living in a nearby Airbnb.

Currently in her second year of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the Hahn School, Elena’s focus is in the area of palliative care. Her interest in providing compassionate care at end-of-life is what prompted her to go to New York. She wanted to be sure patients did not die alone.

Click here to learn more about Elena’s story. 

Shalaine Corbilla, Doctor of Nursing Practice Student

Shalaine Corbilla works as a cardiothoracic nurse at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. Last spring she started caring for COVID-19 patients. She is not used to being face-to-face with a person she knows will not likely recover from a virus for which there is no cure.

As the threat of the virus became more real for Shalaine, she moved out of her home and into a hotel. She wanted keep some distance between herself and her husband and other family members with whom she resides. She wanted to keep them safe from the possibility of contracting the virus, and she wanted to keep them safe from the realities of what was going on in the hospital.

Click here to learn more about Shalaine’s story.

Ann Lawani, MEPN Graduate

Ann Lawani graduated from the Master’s Entry in Nursing Program (MEPN) just over two years ago.  She worked for Sharp Memorial Hospital in cardio-pulmonary nursing until the pandemic hit—then she became a COVID nurse.  

Because of her skills and compassion, she was promoted to Lead Clinical Nurse on the COVID unit at Sharp Coronado. Ann never expected to face a global pandemic so early in her nursing career. In doing so, she has learned there are limits to everything.

“I think the energy we had as nurses when the pandemic started, we don't have quite as much of that energy anymore.” Ann shared with us. “The energy is dwindling, we're emotionally exhausted, and we're physically tired.”

Click here to learn more about Ann’s story.

Our graduates are leaders in their fields.

A degree from the Hahn School of Nursing earns you more than mere letters after your name. Your degree comes with a reputation and a network that supports your goals and fosters connections. We’re here to mentor, nurture, and uplift you as you become all you’re meant to be. 

Whether you’re transitioning from another career into nursing, earning a master’s specialty or pursuing a doctoral degree, we invite you to explore our academic programs. We’re confident you’ll find the one that takes you to the next destination in your nursing journey.

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