The Love for Their Profession. The Strength of Our Alumni.

Many of our nursing graduates are working the trenches the COVID-19 pandemic war has waged on the world. From hospital emergency rooms, intensive care unit (ICU), labor and delivery, and more, Spartans are working hard to save lives.

For Silvana Dulanto, a 2013 graduate working the in the progressive care unit at Loma
Loma Linda University Medical Center - Murrieta, her long work hours have been a real challenge.

“It is intense to work 12 hours with all the equipment,” Dulanto said. “It is hot, and the mask leaves my face very sore.”

Perhaps the hardest part for Dulanto is connecting with patients underneath all the personal protective equipment (PPE) she is required to wear during her shifts.

“It can be challenging to show compassion through the N95 mask and shield. I have to verbally reassure my patients I’m there for them. Specially during this time of isolation.” 

Many hospital care workers are the only connection family members have with a loved one diagnosed and being treated for COVID-19.

One of these hospital care workers is Jennifer Arbiso-Williams, a 2019 nursing graduate.

“My favorite story is a woman whose daughter delivered her first grandchild in labor and delivery at our hospital,” Arbiso-Williams said. “I had the privilege of speaking to the daughter while she labored over the course of two days and assuring her that her mother was okay.”

Arbiso-Williams states sharing in the joy of new life is special and an amazing feeling. For that, she would not trade her job for anything else and feels blessed to be part of the nursing community during this unprecedented time.

“I'll be honest, it was scary at first,” Arbiso-Williams shared. “But by the second week, I decided to lean into the process and take this time to learn all that I could. My greatest pride so far was admitting, caring for, and discharging a positive patient, so I know there is hope.”

Our nursing graduates may have landed jobs at various sites, but many have the opportunity to stay together even after graduation. 2019 graduates Jen Cortez, Joi Fletcher, Janet Audet, and Oyinda Ogujumo [pictured] are some of those graduates that are able to work together at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas. Oyinda shared she began the new grad program in March on 2 South, the stroke unit. While Jane and Joi are on 2 North, which primarily works with post-surgical patients. Finally, Jen is working on 2 West, a telemetry unit. Stay strong, Spartans!


Below are more stories, updates, and photos submitted by our amazing nursing alumni working tirelessly throughout the region to care and protect our community.

Stephanie Kelly
Memorial Hospital
2016 Alumni

Currently working on an antepartum unit for high-risk pregnant women, including those who are positive for COVID-19.

Brittany Garcia
Scripps Encinitas
2012 Alumni
“I work on a surgical floor, but I am sometimes floated to our current COVID-19 unit. Recently, I was helping ICU nurses take care of the critical COVID-19 patients.”

Debra Brown
Temecula Valley Hospital, ICU Unit
2014 Alumni
“Gowning up for the first time in mid-March. Making light of a stressful day in mid-April. Proud of our community support.”

Audra Friedstroffer
Tahoe Forest Hospital
2015 Alumni
no photo
“MedSurg/ICU nurse taking care of COVID/COVID rule-out patients. We live in the small mountain town of Truckee, California near Lake Tahoe. Love my job, best coworkers ever! Staying strong together.”

Kaleigh Kahakui
Palomar Health
2017 Alumni
no photo
“I work in the emergency department (ED), often in the COVID-19 tent. We still have PPE but are saving/sterilizing N95’s in case we run out.”

VA La Jolla
2017 Alumni
no photo
“Taking care of patients who are at the hospital to rule out COVID-19 and at times patients who are positive. Keep being positive everyone, with God this too shall pass.”

Anayeli Soto
TriCity Medical Center
2017 Alumni
no photo
Registered nurse working to keep our patients healthy.

Stephanie Harrison
Mission Hospital
2014 Alumni
no photo
ED/Trauma RN & Nursing House Supervisor. I am beyond proud to be a part of this profession and fight COVID-19 with you all.

Jade Sappington
Scripps La Jolla Emergency Department
2016 Alumni
“I’m working in the Emergency Department at Scripps La Jolla on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. I’d like to thank MiraCosta for preparing me to be the best nurse I can be.”

Amy Jehl
Temecula Valley Hospital
2019 Alumni
“I work at Temecula Valley Hospital. I am a medsurg/telemetry nurse and most of my floor has been turned into a negative pressure unit to take care of COVID-19 patients. We will all keep fighting this fight together!”

Trudy Hiatt
Palomar Health-Escondido
2014 Alumni

ER Nurse on the frontlines. Providing emergent care for persons in our community including persons under investigation and confirmed positive with COVID19.

Nora Shults
Naval Medical Center San Diego
2013 Alumni
“Working labor and delivery protecting our pregnant mommas!”

Breanne Rupe
Riverside University Health System
2014 Alumni
“We have a COVID-19 ICU unit which I have been working on/off for the past month.”

Lauren Castonguay and Nick Bohanan
TriCity Medical Center
2015 Alumni
with Nick, photo not attached
“This is Nick Bohanan and I, both 2015 grads working in the ICU. We have a mix of traditional and COVID-19 patients. Gotta have a little fun along the way and pose for a PPE photo!”

Marie Schamel
Rancho Springs
2011 Alumni
I” currently work on medsurg/telemetry unit where I am working with COVID-19 patients as well as patients that are being ruled out. Although they start stable on our floor, they can rapidly decline so it’s very important to be vigilant at the signs and symptoms of any changes in respiratory status. It’s different nowadays being a nurse but am still grateful for the profession, and I am proud to be in the frontlines caring for these sick patients who are going through this frightening virus!”

Ashley Seitz
Kaier Permanente Emergency Department
2015 Alumni
“I made it to 32 weeks pregnant, working triage in the emergency department, before I hung up my essential shoes and started maternity leave. Our baby girl is due June 2 so I’ll be back in September or October to help continue the fight. Stay safe all!”

Long Nguyen
Sharp Hospital
2018 Alumni

“I did dialysis treatment for patient positive of COVID-19 in April.”

Scripps Healthcare
2019 Alumni
photo included
“I currently work on a medsurg/telemetry floor that is designated for positive COVID-19 patients only. It has been extremely difficult, but I am fortunate to be with these patients when they are alone and afraid.”

Jeremy Crump
Kaiser San Diego (Emergency Department)
2012 Alumni
“I’m working in the emergency department and trying to keep myself and family safe.”

Mercy Southwest Hospital
2012 Alumni
“I work in the front lines in the emergency room. Between triaging and caring for intubated patients, I see all levels of this disease.”

Kaiser Zion
2011 Alumni
I am a hospital care manager. I work from my office in house planning discharges, ordering equipment and transportation.  

Ruth Perez
2014 alumni
UCSD Medical Center
“I have been working with COVID-19 patients since mid-March at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest. Due to my potential exposure, I have isolated myself from my two boys, husband, and parents. It had been difficult, but I want to make sure I protect my family and also be able to care for patients.”

Bruno Gracindo

“I’ve been at UCSD Jacobs ICU for the past five years. We’re definitely one of the hospitals on the frontline of the COVID-19 in San Diego. New patients are coming every day, some very sick. There is a lot of research being held with different treatment possibilities. I’ve seen different medication regimens, prone therapy, ECMO, ventilator settings—lots of different approaches to treat patients. PPE conservation is an issue, there is a lot of push back and forth from management and union. No visitors allowed whatsoever, unless we’re withdrawing care and patients are about to die. It’s been a stressful period, but most of us are happy to help people in this time of need. Stay safe.”

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