Treating some of the most vulnerable Chicagoans is North Park's assistant professor of nursing Heather Duncan, who has been working on the front lines since the COVID-19 outbreak. Working as a nurse with Lawndale Christian Health Care's Mobile Health Team, Duncan cares for the underserved, many who haven't received consistent health care.
Because of North Park's expertise with the homeless, Duncan served on the first team screening approximately 400 residents of Chicago's largest shelter. With 30 years' nursing experience Duncan still found those initial screening moments tenuous. "This added another level of uncertainty on top of the lack of infection control, which is difficult in large shelters," said Duncan.
"We care for patients who sometimes never had consistent medical care," said Duncan. Compassionate care is a North Park SNHC 50-year plus tradition—echoed throughout hands-on instruction and clinical rotations with educational hospitals.
Exemplified by Duncan, SNHC's graduates treat patients as whole persons. Megan Hanson, '06 (SNHS) says, '"This is especially important while I'm caring for COVID-19 patients since they don't have the ability to visit with family," said Hanson.
Lauren Lewandowski, '19 (SNHS), sees post-operative patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) Cardiovascular and Thoracic unit. Applying holistic-centered care values, Lewandowski recalls Duncan's teachings. "There is a person behind the virus and disease which encourages me to give the best care possible," said Lewandowski.
Lewandowski's classmate and colleague Lucy Hamamoto share similar take-aways. "Reacting to situations in the OR with a level head is extremely important," said Hamamoto. "Especially now during the COVID-19 outbreak, I am inspired by other nurses and health care professionals and am lucky to work on a team that has the single objective to help patients," added Hamamoto.
In crisis situations, the three SNHS alumni come prepared with critical thinking skills developed through labs and rotations. Lewandowski and Hamamoto, both at NMH, got their jobs through North Park's clinical partnership with NMH.