irene chen uc irvine school of nursing alumni spotlight class of 2016

Our weekly Alumni Spotlight series features updates on the outstanding graduates of the UCI Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing. Irene Chen, class of ’16, shares what it was like to be a nurse working in a pandemic.

Where do you work?

Huntington Hospital, Pasadena

What is your title?

Registered nurse

How has COVID-19 impacted your life?

I have cared for the sickest ICU patients who have been affected by COVID-19. Each day felt like a battle at work, school and daily life.

This pandemic has shown me the dual fragility and resilience that we possess. We have the power to impact our families, loved ones and communities.

What initially drew you to the nursing profession?

I have always wanted to have a career that directly helps others. Throughout my life, I have also been inspired by my aunt and her riveting stories at work. I put the two together and decided that nursing would be the career that matched my personality and interests.

What do you love most about being a nurse?

I love the connections that are formed during the (sometimes) brief, but very meaningful moments with patients. I love seeing patients progress in their continuum of health. In addition to constantly learning something new, I appreciate how nursing allows me to discover more about myself.