Collection of Duquesne Nurses in PPE ready to battle Coronavirus

Celebration of Duquesne Nurses

Heroes of COVID-19

The Year of the Nurse and Midwife and COVID-19 pandemic have demonstrated the value of nurses as heroes, caregivers and advocates. We are proud of and inspired by the courage and compassion of Duquesne Nurses. We hope their stories will invoke the same feelings in you.

We are grateful to those who have already shared their stories with us, and we invite you to do the same.

Share your story.

You know, a lot of us have been forced away from our partners, turned away hugs from our children. We slept on concrete floors or in cars. And we did these things not for our own benefit or safety, but we did risk our lives in service of a stranger. And there is no greater love than that...We represent the very best about the human capacity, and I've never been more proud to call myself a nurse.

--Luke Adams, 2010 Second Degree BSN alum, said during a Nurses Day proclamation at the White House on May 6, 2020.

Duquesne Nurses: From the Front Lines

Katelyn Barley, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNE

2013 BSN Program
Current DNP student
Emergency Support Pool Nurse, Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital, Baltimore, MD

2013 BSN alumni Katelynn Barley in PPE for COVID-19I am currently full-time nursing faculty here in Maryland, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has called on all past, present, and even future nurses to consider helping out. I have had the opportunity to work at the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital--a joint venture through University of Maryland Medical Center and The Johns Hopkins Hospital. We are caring for patients who are all confirmed COVID+ in a bio-contained area.

This role is something I never expected but has been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I work 13-hour shifts in full PPE (personal protective equipment) with short breaks to hydrate or use the bathroom. I am not sure how long this pandemic will last, but I do know front line nurses are working tirelessly to provide care to these patients who need it the most.

Posted May 20, 2020.

Melissa Coulter, BSN, RN

2015 BSN Program
Clinical Registered Nurse II, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD

2015 alumni Melissa Coulter in PPE for COVID-19It is an honor to be a nurse, but an even bigger honor to be a nurse on the front lines during a pandemic.

I am an Emergency Department RN in Baltimore, Maryland. Maryland has had steady cases of COVD-19 since the first week of March and working in a large academic hospital on the west side of Baltimore has led to significant challenges and high volumes of acutely ill patients. The last month has been our hardest. I am unbelievably grateful for the team I work with every single day. They are knowledgeable and compassionate, giving each patient a fighting chance.

I have been at the bedside of countless patients while we have tried everything in our power to keep them alive. I have seen the fear in patient's eyes, I have held their hands as they realized they were dying, and I have been with patients as they take their final breath.

While I never expected to be an Emergency Department RN during a pandemic, I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Posted May 11, 2020.

Diana Cook, BSN, RN

Current FNP Student
2017 BSN Program
Assisting in New York, NY

2017 BSN lalumni Diana Cook in PPE to fight COVID-19I graduated from Duquesne in 2017 and started working as a nurse locally in a Neuro ICU. From there I left to travel nurse in California. I returned home upon acceptance into Duquesne's FNP program and went back to working in ICUs in Pittsburgh. With my travel nurse and ICU experience, along with work flexibility, I felt it was necessary to help when I heard Governor Cuomo's call for nurses to please come to NYC to fight COVID-19. I couldn't sit at home when I saw the dire need for help continue to grow each day.

Currently, I'm in a Manhattan hospital on one of the many COVID ICUs. I'm seeing firsthand the exhausted staff, extremely critically ill patients but also the incredible efforts of health care workers from all over the country who have come to work together during this pandemic.

I am experiencing the support of an entire city. It's amazing that every day, rain or shine, the police, fire department and citizens cheer from the streets up to the rooftops at shift change. Every night. It's a very humbling experience and truly motivates me to keep going.

I'm thankful for my education from Duquesne and the clinical experiences I have acquired in my time as a nurse thus far that have allowed me to help during this pandemic.

Posted May 6, 2020.

Missy Mazzullo, BSN, RN

2015 BSN Program
Community Health Nurse, Maryland

2015 alumni missy mazzulloI am a community health nurse who lives and works in my home state of Maryland. During this time of uncertainty, I am co-leading a team of nurses, social workers and other health department staff operating a remote COVID-19 phone bank from their homes.

My staff and I utilize laptops with telephonic capability (soft phones) and a newly developed database when receiving and entering call information. Since March 10, we have fielded over 2,400 calls from concerned residents and clinicians. Approximately 988 of those calls included assessment of symptoms. Testing information is provided, and patients are triaged as appropriate.

My staff and I connect callers to other resources as needed, including those for the uninsured, elderly, homeless or disabled. I keep up with changing CDC and state guidance, and collaborate with Emergency Preparedness, Communicable Disease and Environmental Health programs to educate staff and callers.

My passion for community health began during my time at Duquesne University, which was fueled by a holistic curriculum, supportive professors and administrative staff. I am eternally grateful for my undergraduate education and am humbled to serve my community as a Duquesne nurse.

Posted April 29, 2020.

Lauren Dowd, BSN, RN, MSN, FNP-BC

2009 BSN Program
Nurse Practitioner, Women's Group of Northwestern, Chicago, IL

2009 BSN alumni Lauren Dowd in PPE for COVID-19I am a proud 2009 graduate of Duquesne University's School of Nursing. My BS in nursing allowed me to be employed as a Antepartum, Labor and Delivery, Postpartum, Newborn Nursery, and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse at various medical facilities that included UCLA, and the Rush and Northshore hospital systems in the Chicagoland area. I am presently a Nurse Practitioner at a women's health outpatient office affiliated with Northwestern.

While I am not a health care provider at the front line, my practice continues to keep their doors open to our Obstetric and Gynecological patients who urgently need to be assessed. Presently, I am seeing patients in the office as well as virtually via Telemedicine in order to provide continued comprehensive care. Most important, I am pleased to provide a friendly face and resource during these unprecedented times.

I owe Duquesne University School of Nursing not only for a career that fulfills me, but an education that taught me compassionate care that allows me to treat my patients holistically during a pandemic--whether it be inpatient, outpatient, or through a computer screen. Thank you, Duquesne!

Posted April 28, 2020.

Catherine Lalor, BSN, RN

2019 BSN Program
Cardiac-Thoracic ICU Nurse, North Shore University Hospital, Northwell Health, Manhasset, NY

2019 alumni catherine lalor in PPE to fight COVID-19I graduated with my BSN in May 2019 and was lucky to begin a fellowship as a cardiac-thoracic nurse at North Shore University Hospital, the main hospital of the Northwell Health System. Little did I know that within one year of graduating from Duquesne University and nine months into my career, I would be working the frontlines of the battle against the Covid-19 virus. The major focus of my hospital since March has been in caring for Covid-19 patients with my floor focusing on the critically ill patients. I am grateful for the support expressed to nurses and all health care workers.

Posted April 27, 2020.

Lauryn Clouden, BSN, RN, CEN

2015 BSN Program
Emergency Department Charge Nurse, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY

2015 Nursing alumni Lauryn Clouden in PPE for COVID-19Although no amount of education, simulation or clinical experience could prepare any of us for a crisis like this, I am proud to be a Duquesne nursing alumni. Being in charge of a NYC Emergency Department in a time like this has taught me many lessons I never thought I would need to learn--personally, professionally and emotionally. Shout out to Duquesne for providing us with a solid foundation to fall back on during a time like this!

Special thanks to the absolutely amazing clinical instructors, Carol Merola and Anna Vioral, for preparing us to handle whatever was thrown our way. I would not be where I am today without them!

Posted April 22, 2020.

Linda Koceski, BSN, RN

1982 BSN Program
Med/Surg; Dialysis; Oncology, Monongahela Valley Hospital, Inc, Monongahela, PA

I am grateful that I was able to receive my training at Duquesne. Even at that time, there was talk of eliminating the Diploma programs. When I began at Monongahela Valley Hospital, most nurses did not have their BSN. My class was the first through a new curriculum. Our tests were patterned after the way questions were presented on the boards. We sat for two days and waited at least two months for our results.

My first semester for clinical was at AGH on a dialysis unit. Fast forward all of these years. Dialysis has been the specialty on my Units throughout my career. Now, we also care for Oncology patients.

Our patients are challenging even without this Covid nightmare. They are immuno-compromised and have many co-morbities that place them at high risk. Also, they are alone.

What many are not saying is that the "normal" business of being a hospital is being greatly impacted. Hospital census and services are greatly reduced causing a decreased need for all employees. That is another tragedy of Covid. The very places that are at the center of the care, are also being forced to greatly decrease staffing across all departments.

While I am not a critical care nurse, my co-workers and my hospital have also been hit hard by Covid.

Posted April 22, 2020.

Sarah Loschiavo, APRN, FNP-C, ACHPN

2003, BSN Program
2008, MSN Program
APRN Director Oncology Palliative/Supportive Care & Survivorship, UCONN Health, Farmington, CT
Sarah Loschiavo alumni in PPE for COVID-19I received my BSN (2003) and MSN (2008) at Duquesne University and am currently enrolled in the DNP program at UCONN. The nursing education and training I received at Duquesne University has prepared me to face and conquer the COVID challenges in cancer care. 2020 is definitely the "Year of the Nurse" and I couldn't be prouder to be part of this incredible profession.

Read Sarah's observations of how COVID-19 is impacting care of cancer patients.

Posted April 16, 2020.

Colleen Finnegan, BSN, RN

2019, Second Degree BSN Program
Stepdown ICU-RN, Saint Joseph's Hospital, Paterson, NJ

colleen finnegan, 2019 Second Degree alumni in PPE for COVID-19I graduated from Duquesne's Accelerated nursing program this past December. I am one month into my nursing career and nurse residency program at Saint Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, NJ. North New Jersey is the epicenter of COVID-19. My orientation has been cut short to accommodate the increasing COVID admissions. Just like students at Duquesne, my residency classes have been cancelled. I have been challenged to adapt to change and to learn my skills on the fly. Duquesne has prepared me to critically think and make decisions on behalf of my critically ill patients.

Although I have only been a nurse for one month, this past month has been filled with challenges, tears and gratitude. Each and every employee has a role in caring for our patients. Doctors and nurses have collaborated to improve the quality of care for patients who feel especially alone during their hospital stay. I am so proud to be a Duquesne alumni!

Posted April 16, 2020.

Evan Mulvihill, BSN, RN

2019, BSN Program
Registered Nurse, Jefferson Hospital, Jefferson Hills, PA

Evan Mulvihill, 2019 BSN graduateI am currently a RN in the ICU at Jefferson Hospital. We have seen so many positive cases, and in fact, we were one of the few units to initially get a positive case in western PA. My role as a nurse hasn't changed too much; however, we are learning each and every day about better protecting ourselves against this virus with n95 masks, paper masks and now n100, which are shown to protect up to 97%.

The hardest thing for us is dealing with these positive cases who are extremely sick, and a lot of them are requiring a lot of mechanical ventilation and proning in the bed. Our intensivists are learning that this virus, although presents as a textbook ARDS case, patients are responding to different ventilator settings that aren't in the textbook or algorithm, so we are making history with learning from our cases how to better treat them.

I'm motivated every day I go into work knowing I'm on the front lines but making a huge impact on people's lives and seeing them get better and being able to call the family and give them positive news is so rewarding.

Posted April 16, 2020.

Sarah Wright

2020, Second Degree BSN Program
Patient Care Technician, Highland Hospital Emergency Department, Rochester, NY

Second Degree Student Sarah Wright in PPE for COVID-19Since my schooling in the 12-month accelerated nursing program was cut short in person, I am now back home in NY taking classes online. I applied back to my old job as a PCT in the Emergency Department, and they quickly took me back due to already having completed training. I am among such brave coworkers during this scary time, and I'm doing my part by helping triage and care for COVID-19 patients. We will get through this together. My thoughts and prayers are with every Duquesne student, staff member and alum. Be safe ♥️

Posted April 15, 2020.

Molly Donahue, BSN, RN

2009, Second Degree BSN Program
Detroit, MI

Second Degree Alumni Molly Donahue (09) in PPE for COVID-19I graduated from the Duquesne Accelerated Nursing Program in 2009. I have worked as an RN in various environments over the past decade including seven years as an Army Nurse Corps officer with a deployment in Afghanistan, Pediatric Emergency, and as a Flight Nurse with Air Ambulance. Currently, I am working in Detroit in the Emergency Department of a busy downtown hospital.

I felt motivated to do my part in this COVID crisis by searching out an area to work in our country that needs it the most. I am grateful that I have the skills and experience to serve at a time that a lot of us feel lost and helpless. My time at Duquesne set me up for a successful career, and I appreciate the mentors I had as a nursing student that helped put me on this path.

Posted April 15, 2020.

Teresa Swindal, BSN, RN

2018, Second Degree BSN Program
ICU Nurse, New York, NY

2018 Duquesne Nursing Grad Teresa Swindal in full PPE to treat COVID-19 patients in NYCCurrently, I am an ICU nurse in New York City. I am writing this to let you know that although this is an unprecedented and difficult time to be a nurse, I am thankful for the education and the skills that I was able to build at Duquesne and use them with every single shift. Duquesne helped prepare me to be the nurse I am today, both by helping me build tangible skills, such as prioritization and emergency preparedness, and by giving me multiple experienced professors to provide guidance and mentorship. It is a scary time to be working on a nursing degree, but after graduating, you should not only feel up to the challenge, but ready to face it head on.

Posted April 13, 2020.