The health professionals who make up Onondaga Community College's Nursing faculty have been going non-stop since March. Between the sudden arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the immediate transition from in-person to online learning there's been little time to rest. "I have worked in hospitals since 1994," said Professor Cynthia Arcuri. "I've worked through several influenza seasons, the advent of SARS, the H1N1 virus, and the Ebola Virus. I've never seen anything like this." Arcuri works in the Cardiopulmonary Intensive Care Unit at SUNY Upstate Medical University. She cares for people after heart, lung, and vascular surgery.
Professor Joanne Kelly is a 2011 alumna of OCC's Nursing program. When she's not teaching students, she's working on the orthopedic floor at St. Joseph's Hospital. When elective surgeries were postponed there due to the virus, Kelly shifted to a position at the COVID-19 testing site at the Syracuse Community Health Center. She would triage patients as they drove-up to be tested, then assist in obtaining a sample. "Some days it would be so busy. I was part of a huge team of people that did great work. Being out in the community at the testing site and helping others was such a wonderful feeling," said Kelly.
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In the fall OCC will add an evening cohort, meaning the Nursing degree program will have a greater capacity to educate and prepare even more nurses of tomorrow. "Nurses give their heart and soul every day performing skilled care and providing compassion to those in need. I think with this recent public awareness and appreciation for nurses, we are introducing a whole new generation to the role of the nurse. I hope we attract individuals who want to care for others and want to make an impact on people's lives knowing the hard work and devotion required in doing so," said Arcuri.