The role of an emergency room nurse can be challenging and stressful day after day. But never has that been more true as the coronavirus pandemic impacts Orange County.
She helps them get through what for many is a scary and lonely situation.
On top of that, she’s studying to be a nurse practitioner.
Comforting the whole person
“I feel very proud that I’m able to help people,” German says of working in the ER, especially now.
As healthcare providers, she and her team generally know more and can educate their patients about what’s happening.
Often, she says, the role of comforter may fall to her as patients are now required to come in alone.
“It’s a horrible feeling to not have your family member by your side in times of distress. So, we’re there to support them physically, emotionally and mentally.”
It’s what she has wanted to do after growing up in Peru and witnessing the health struggles of her community.
A passion for educating patients
“Amputees with diabetes were dragging themselves along the streets, unable to buy medications or a wheelchair,” she remembers.
She saw parents begging hospitals for antibiotics for their children.
“The face of despair of those mothers is forever embedded in my mind.”
Committing to the underserved
German is a scholarship and fellowship recipient in the Doctor of Nursing Practice – Family Nurse Practitioner Program (DNP-FNP) at the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing.
The scholarship, which goes to two Spanish-speaking students, began this year. UCI Health and the nursing school jointly cover two-thirds of her scholarship.
As part of the scholarship, German is also committing to work three years at the UCI Health Family Health Center — Santa Ana, a federally qualified health center (FQHC).
Working hands-on for nearly 12 years as a nurse, she has a gift for educating patients.
“My passion will always be in the education, prevention and improvement in the health of the underserved population.”
‘There are a lot of unknowns’
German feels great about her health despite the risks she encounters in her position.
At work, she is very careful with her personal protective equipment (PPE) and takes care to use it properly. That includes the use of the face shields designed and 3D-printed by the Beall Center for Innovation.
At home, she takes care of herself by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and following the recommended measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
Taking her own precautions has helped manage stress in the face of uncertainty about the direction of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We could get a second wave. It could flatten. There are a lot of unknowns,” she says.
“Being a nurse…it’s a very important time to be here.”