Baptism by Fire

nurse stands in front of door with full ppe on

The nursing class of 2019 has not been eased into the working world. “I just came off orientation in January,” says Mia Hrabcsak ’19 (NUR). “I’m not just learning how to be a good nurse, but how to be a good nurse in the middle of a pandemic.” Hrabcsak had just come off a shift on the surgical orthopedic floor at UConn Health Farmington. With elective surgeries on hold, the floor was filled with overflow Covid-19 patients, and things were stressful. “lt’s hard to imagine we haven’t hit our surge. People are rushing in constantly; how could it get much worse?” The hardest part, she says, is watching people suffer alone, especially when they are put on ventilators.

What gets her through? “I would definitely say it’s my UConn nursing friends. They are going through the same thing. They understand the perspective and share the same fears.” In fact, when she needs a happy place to think of to de-stress, Hrabcsak thinks of graduation. “It was a big milestone. Four years of really hard work and it was all worth it. The end goal of nursing is to help people, and that’s still what I’m doing — just in the middle of a worldwide pandemic.”

By Lisa Stiepock


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