Meet Destiny Jones, Level 2 student in UArizona Nursing’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Integrative Health (BSN-IH) pathway. Jones is one the dedicated volunteers lending a much-needed hand with the Banner Health PODs at the State Fairgrounds in Phoenix.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in nursing?
My goal is to give all I can to care for those who are sick and get them back to living a productive life. I greatly respect human life and have compassion for empathy and suffering, so knowing I can make a career out of helping people that are struggling medically has been my driving force. I have always been drawn to biological and physiological sciences, which is what developed my interest further into the medical field. Nursing allows me the opportunity to work closely with vulnerable patients to make a significant impact on their lives. There is nothing more rewarding than the feeling of bringing comfort to those in their darkest moments. Nursing is not simply a career but is my calling.
“Working at the COVID POD as a nursing student, I feel like we are finally starting to see some light at the end of this dark tunnel. I talk to the patients that receive their vaccine and I can feel the impact this pandemic has had on each of them. Being at the COVID POD brings a feeling of relief after so much sickness and suffering," ~ Destiny Jones, Level 2 BSN-IH Student
What is it like to be on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I currently work in the portion of the medical field that supplies individuals with equipment such as supplemental oxygen, which has been the main weapon against COVID-19. Since Arizona has one of the nation’s highest rate of coronavirus hospitalizations, our oxygen supplies ran low. It was hard coming to work wondering if that was going to be the day we run out of oxygen and start turning patients away. Working in health care you never want to consider rationing care. Now with working at the COVID POD as a nursing student, I feel like we are finally starting to see some light at the end of this dark tunnel. I talk to the patients that receive their vaccine and I can feel the impact this pandemic has had on each of them. Being at the COVID POD brings a feeling of relief after so much sickness and suffering.
Can you describe your work at the COVID POD?
A typical day at the COVID POD lasts about ten hours. The first half of the day, I mainly oversee individuals that have already received their COVID-19 vaccine and have to wait 15 minutes to make sure no adverse reactions take place. During this time, I like to talk to my patients to see how they are feeling. I like to educate them to continue taking their prescribed medications and to expect some of the common symptoms such as injection site pain. Once the individual has waited their full 15 minutes, they are free to continue their day. During the second half of the day, I mainly give the vaccine to patients. We start the process by confirming the patient and documenting the administration of the vaccine in their medical record. Once documentation has been complete, we can administer the vaccine and the rest is history! Many of these individuals are so grateful for everyone that volunteers at the COVID POD and the work that takes place here is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Can you share your perspective of the challenges you face as a student nurse during this crisis?
There have been quite a few challenges throughout my nursing education during a pandemic. As a student we have a unique challenge related to our role and how this will help to develop the next generation of nurses. In March of 2020, our nursing program decided to remove students from clinical experiences, and we have just now been allowed to go back to clinicals in very small numbers. Even going back to clinical it has been a challenge as if we were to be exposed to COVID-19 we risk not only our health but our families as well. The University has done an amazing job with minimizing this concern, as we are to avoid caring for patients with known COVID-19 positive tests.
During these challenging times, what gives you hope and helps you stay positive?
My program really emphasizes self-care so taking care of myself and being able to identify what my body needs at times has helped me stay positive. Taking care of myself is a priority for me as I really believe in caring for my mind, body, and spirit will ultimately make me a better caregiver. Having hope does not mean that you are being oblivious to what is going on in the world, however it is important that you acknowledge what is happening and be mindful how it makes you feel.
What does it mean to you to be a Wildcat Nurse?
I am very proud to be a Wildcat Nurse. With dedication and passion, being a wildcat nurse will pave the way for amazing opportunities, a rewarding career, and a network of people who support what you do. We have had a few families donate generous amounts of money and items to our program which have made transitioning to virtual learning a lot easier. Being a Wildcat Nurse, you learn how to become a leader, address healthcare obstacles, and educate the community while assuring those who are weak get the proper medical attention they need.