Finding Ways to Help During Crisis

May 04, 2020 - 2 minute read


Nurses post their thanks for receiving headbands and masks from the Concordia Nursing Student Association

CUI nursing student Teddi Lamons was in the middle of her clinical rotations when students suddenly were no longer allowed in hospitals due to COVID-19 prevention measures. Soon thereafter, classes in CUI’s nursing program were moved online and eventually put on hold until the crisis lifted. Lamons and other students were frustrated to learn that graduation would be delayed.

“That was the hardest part to accept,” Lamons says. “We were so excited to get out there. We signed up for this accelerated nursing program because we are super-passionate to get into the field. Now we felt kind of helpless. We couldn’t be nurses out there like we wanted to be.”

Linda Murphy, CUI faculty member and advisor for the school’s California Nursing Student Association (CNSA) chapter, says that the sudden suspension of the program “almost caused shock because nobody could physically be together,” she says. “When they all found out that school was on hold and they weren’t allowed to go back to hospitals for clinical rotations, we were all left high and dry. We had been working so hard — now what?”

Sadness turned to solution-making when students began hearing from CUI nursing program alumni on the frontlines about various needs. Lamons and other students began organizing to help from their homes, coming up with projects to serve local hospitals and affected populations.

One project involved sewing buttons onto headbands. Many medical professionals found their ears chafing after twelve hours wearing masks, and were sewing buttons to their headbands to hold their masks’ ear loops. Lamons, who serves as the CNSA chapter’s president, and her CUI classmates started sewing buttons to headbands so health care workers could attach the masks to the buttons. They also sewed fabric face masks for them.

photo of button headbands and masks

“We got really good feedback. People have loved the headbands especially,” Lamons says. “We even got pictures from nurses who were wearing them.”

CUI students also learned that nursing homes residents, who were on strict lockdown, couldn’t have visits from family.

“It broke our hearts when we saw pictures and heard about residents who couldn’t see loved ones during this time,” Lamons says. “Concordia’s program focuses on geriatric adults which are a population often forgotten about.”

CUI nursing students organized a letter-writing campaign to send uplifting, handwritten notes to nursing home residents and staff members who work with them.

“We hope to bring light and love to these populations,” Lamons says.

Students also raised money to send toys to children at Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where visits from relatives had been limited.

The positive focus from CUI nursing students “has been a great way for us to bond during this time,” Lamons says. “The appreciation we received has been amazing. It has filled all of our hearts with a lot of pride to be able to participate, and been great for us as a program, with professors getting involved and students participating. It has been a sweet way to stay in contact though we are not seeing each other at school every day. That has been really important for us.”

At the time of this writing, Concordia nursing students have sewed and donated 500 button-equipped headbands and 560 cloth masks. The delayed graduation, Lamons believes, “will be more fulfilling and richer” because of their response to the crisis.

“It has encouraged a sense of family and camaraderie that they wouldn’t normally get,” Murphy says. “When I see students doing that, I know they are going into this profession for the right reason. This is what nursing is all about.”

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