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Nursing Graduate on the Frontlines of COVID-19

Story By:
Laurie O'Hara | Writer/Editor
Nursing Graduate on the Frontlines of COVID-19
Darby DeMoura '17

Darby DeMoura ’17 knew she wanted to become a nurse because of her interest in science and a desire to work in the medical field. After she was accepted to Keene State’s nursing program, a visit to campus solidified her choice. Now three years later, she is serving on the frontlines of the pandemic at Cheshire Medical Center’s Thompson Unit.

“I took some great classes and had access to terrific clinical opportunities,” said Darby. “My preceptorship during my senior year was definitely my favorite part of the program. I was placed at the Cedarcrest Center for Children with Disabilities, a pediatric facility that takes care of complex cases with multiple diagnoses. I took my first nursing job at Cedarcrest Center and I loved my time there.”

With a desire to gain additional skills and expand her knowledge, Darby took a job at Cheshire Medical Center in 2018. “The Thompson Unit has gone through many changes recently with the pandemic,” she said. “Our rooms have been modified to accommodate more COVID-19 patients and those patients sometimes need a higher level of care. We have been trained to monitor cardiac patients and administer medications.”

“I have recently been put in the charge role on my floor, which can be challenging, but I have enjoyed the new opportunities to learn. As I have always been interested in more acute patients, I hope to one day make the transition to the Intensive Care Unit, and maybe in the future, as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist,” added Darby.

As Darby’s floor gets busier with more COVID-19 positive patients, tasks take longer due to the personal protective equipment procedures in place to keep her and her coworkers safe. There is also a lot of additional monitoring for these patients. As Darby explains, “These patients may not appear any sicker than what we are used to, but there is a lot of time that we need to allocate to them during the day.”

As the COVID-19 positivity rate increases across the country, Darby urges everyone to take the necessary precautions to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. “I think the most important thing for people to be told is to continue physical distancing and hand hygiene, and avoid going out or traveling because things seem to be getting worse. The only way to control the outbreak is to minimize contacts and control the spread,” she said.

As for Keene State students who are majoring in nursing, Darby shared some advice. “Try to observe and learn as much as you can in your clinical time and seek out opportunities for new skills. Also, make sure to do plenty of practice questions to prepare for the NCLEX. Keene State has a great program. You’ll all do well!”

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