'Nurse Strong': Nursing students step up during time of need

April 16, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Nurses and healthcare professionals across the country are grappling with the many cases of COVID-19 affecting their hospitals and health care institutions. To help combat this shortage of qualified helping hands, senior nursing students are stepping up to the plate and volunteering during this time of need.

Mia Campanella, senior nursing student at University Park, is one of many senior nursing students selflessly volunteering to help in the fight against COVID-19. With her last semester of classes going virtual and having fulfilled all her clinical hours, Campanella knew that now, more than ever, was the best time to begin her professional nursing journey.

Mia Campanella

Mia Campanella

IMAGE: Provided

“Knowing that people have loved ones, parents and grandparents that are affected, it just made me more motivated to want to go out there and help. Even the children that have it and that are in the hospital, I want to help them and their families adapt to what's going on,” said Campanella.

After receiving an email from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Hospital — where Campanella had interned at this previous summer — urging former nursing interns to consider coming back to aid in the fight against COVID-19, she felt compelled to volunteer alongside the other former nursing interns. Whether the hospital needed help on the front line with treating patients or helping screen and disinfect incoming individuals, Campanella wanted to be a part of the solution.

“There's over 100 COVID patients right now, but it's different because it's also a cancer hospital, so those patients are even more susceptible and vulnerable to the virus,” said Campanella. “But everyone is working around the clock. Everyone has been super motivated to help each other, whether it's motivating each other personally or just in the hospital. It's a great community there, so I'm excited to help.”

With the hospital being located in New York City, not far from her home in Clark, New Jersey, Campanella said she has the time to manage working the 12-hour night shifts at the hospital and the remainder of her semester’s classes. Using a time-management technique similar to the one she used while balancing classes and clinicals, Campanella said she plans to work hard and complete her course work throughout the week and serve her community in New York City on the weekends. Although it’s a tough balance, Campanella said she is committed to helping in this pandemic and preparing herself for the workforce.

Campanella will be working as a nursing assistant, since she has yet to complete the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing exam. Regardless, Campanella said she is simply happy to help the nurses and others with their needs, as well as serving those affected by the pandemic. Seeing the nurses work firsthand has certainly reinforced her passion and love for nursing — something she’s wanted to pursue her whole life.

“To be 'nurse strong' is definitely prevailing during a time like this, and putting yourself on the front line, reminding yourself why you did this, why you have a love for nursing, and to help others get through tough times like this," said Campanella. "It takes a lot of motivation and a lot from within to truly want to help others, and to be there with them during this difficult time."

'We Are' stories

The “We Are” spirit is perhaps more important than ever before, and Penn Staters everywhere are coming together in new and amazing ways. During these challenging times, our community is continuing to realize Penn State’s commitment to excellence through acts of collaboration, thoughtfulness and kindness. As President Eric Barron has written on Digging Deeper, this truly is a “We Are” moment — and we want to hear your “We Are” stories. 

Visit news.psu.edu/WeAre to share how you or other Penn Staters are supporting each other to overcome the collective challenges presented by the novel coronavirus. We are! 

(Media Contacts)

Brooke Killmon

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Last Updated July 01, 2020