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Alumni on the Front Lines | Irene Arévalo

Recent graduate Irene Arévalo ’19 finds moments of joy at Southern NH Medical Center in Nashua.

Irene Arevalo earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing just last year and today is serving on the front line of this worldwide pandemic. “Never would I have thought I would be part of a pandemic let alone working on the very front line,” Irene said. “But here we are. I must say we are doing a decent job in New Hampshire flattening the line. The only thing we as healthcare providers can ask is for people to hang tight, continue staying home, and please pray and support your front line workers because although now called heroes, we are people just like you.”

“Working directly with COVID patients has been challenging in many ways,” Irene told us, “But also rewarding in many others. I feel that nursing care has become more essential than ever in the care of patients, as things change quickly and unexpectedly.”

In addition to providing critical care, Irene provides support for her patients separated from their loved ones. “I feel for the patients. They can’t have any visitors and it is very hard for them and for their loved ones. I have taken care of some patients who lost the battle to COVID. I could only sit by their side, hold their hand, and put aside the physical uncomfortableness of wearing PPE and the worry of exposing myself. They had no one but me, and the rest of the nursing team. In an effort to ensure they knew someone else was there, I have set up FaceTime calls between patients and families so they could see each other and talk. That meant the world to the families as well as the patients. I then stayed with the patient to reassure them that it was ok to let go, that it was ok to go in peace.”

Amid the sadness and loss, Irene looks for the positive. “It brings me so much joy when a patient finally begins to improve, especially when we can celebrate the little things such as going for a short walk or taking a much-needed shower on their own. But the biggest cheers come with the discharge paperwork and the wheelchair ride to the car.”

Irene, we hope that you continue to experience more moments of joy in the coming weeks. Thank you for the care and attention you give your patients.