UMassD Nursing student
Feature Stories 2021: Prepared to answer the call
Prepared to answer the call

Graduates of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences—including the newest nurses from the Class of 2020—were among the health care professionals who answered the call to care for patients fighting COVID-19.

Nurses and heath care professionals must be equipped to meet a community’s ever-changing needs—even when that includes a pandemic. Armed with knowledge from a rigorous curriculum focused on critical thinking and clinical judgement, College of Nursing & Health Sciences graduates were ready to care and protect their communities when called upon in the spring of 2020.

Before the pandemic struck, updates were underway to enhance the nursing and medical laboratory science programs to prepare students to contribute to the team-based health care workforce they would soon join.

In a newly remodeled Health Assessment Laboratory, students practice patient care activities in a collaborative setting. They simulate recording patient histories, checking vital signs, and performing physical exams in treatment bays modeled after exam rooms. Then, they analyze those lessons with faculty in new debriefing suites. Additional spaces allow students to perform aspects of community-based and palliative care.

“The improvements to critical infrastructure facilitate the faculty-student interaction and collaboration that helps nurses become critical thinkers,” said Kimberly A. Christopher, Ph.D., RN, Dean of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences. “I’m so proud of our graduates who were able to make an immediate impact during the height of the pandemic.”

Studying a discipline like nursing requires razor-sharp focus. Donors help students keep that focus by funding scholarships that reduce the financial burden of tuition, which often requires them to work two or three jobs. This vital support of students contributes to developing the critically thinking, compassionate health care professionals on which our community relies.

“As a student, I was grateful to receive several scholarships. Now that I am a full-time nurse, I have an even greater appreciation for that generosity. I am a better nurse today because I was able to stay focused on my studies,” said Matthew Machado ’19, a registered nurse.