April 28, 2020
Veronica Purcell is a nursing student at UCCS. She began her education at the university in 2017 and is currently in her junior year while working part-time at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado Springs (CHCS). Purcell began working at the CHCS in January 2020, and she continues to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I always knew I wanted to do something in the medical field because anatomy fascinated me, and I enjoy taking care of others,” said Purcell. “But I wasn’t completely set on nursing until my junior year in high school when I volunteered at the children’s hospital in Denver. That was when I realized I wanted to dedicate my life to helping sick children and their families make it through tough times.”
To ensure she works in a safe environment, Purcell, along with other staff members, must conduct a screening survey that includes having their temperature taken to confirm they have not experienced any symptoms of the coronavirus within the past 72 hours. In addition, they are required to wear surgical masks, gloves, face shields and protective gowns when entering a patient’s room. Although this may sound like a daunting routine to some, it’s well worth it for Purcell.
“I love being able to wave goodbye to our patients that we helped,” Purcell said. “Even doing the smallest task like changing someone’s pillowcase or getting them a new glass of water can make a huge difference in someone’s life. I can’t picture myself in any other field doing anything else.”
This passion for nursing is also what has kept Purcell motivated and on track with her studies, despite the difficulties of remote learning. Moreover, her eagerness to constantly improve in her field has been fostered by UCCS and her instructors, who have successfully adapted to remote learning.
“It’s tough transitioning to a completely online environment where the majority of what is learned takes place in a lab setting with a hands-on approach,” Purcell said. “But I’m grateful for the instructors I have. They’ve put their heads together and have come up with great alternatives while still inspiring our learning. This is a difficult time, but I feel truly supported in my education.”
Working in the medical field during a pandemic on the scale of COVID-19, especially at such a young age, is hard to imagine. Purcell explained, “I honestly never thought I’d see it in my career, but I love my job and what I do so much more than I ever thought possible.”
It’s no secret that the coronavirus has drastically altered life, making the future uncertain. But young, aspiring medical personnel like Purcell are doing everything they can in the workforce while continuing their education amid the difficulties of a virtual learning environment and social distancing.