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Diverse & Resilient Nurse Group to March in May

2020-’21 has been an era for the history books — or podcasts — thanks to a global pandemic. One clinical group of six student nurses slated to graduate in May from UST’s Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing (PSON) is part of that history: with their story of triumph and resilience.

First, their names:

  • Madeline Deleon BSN ’21
  • Kristen Miller BSN ’21
  • Katarina Maksimov BSN ’21
  • Mary Kelly McConn BSN ’21
  • Mariana Rubio BSN ’21
  • Stephanie Jimenez BSN ’21

The Challenge

In spring ’20, hospitals shut their doors to student nurses as the entire health care field wrestled with the uncertainties of COVID-19. That action meant the student nurses could not do their clinical rotations in hospitals. PSON pivoted so the group could continue their clinical experience within UST’s simulation lab during the affected semester.

How PSON and the Student Nurses Rose

Lauren Delumpa, MSN, RN, FNP-C, is their clinical instructor and witnessed their remarkable performance. She said, “They are a passionate, fun group of young women, and they persevered, never missing a beat in the sim lab. When CHI St. Luke’s did allow them access to the hospital for their final rotations in spring ’21, they demonstrated their ability to turn their virtual experience into reality.”

Ready to Pitch in When Hospital Doors Reopened

Delumpa said the hospital nursing staff met them with excitement.

“Our group’s support was enthusiastically welcomed,” Delumpa said. “It was evident how burnt out some of the nursing staff were as a result of the heavy pandemic load. Our nurses got to help the staff in a medical environment where the patients were sicker, and family visits were severely limited. They saw how caring for critically ill and dying patients can be very, very hard emotionally for the staff as well as for the student nurses.”

Graduating nursing student Madeline “Mimi” DeLeon said, “Even with all of these machines and medications that are essentially keeping the patients alive, there was an atmosphere of healing flowing throughout the unit. Whether it was inside or outside a patient's room, each nurse truly cared for the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical part of each patient and their family members. Even during stressful events such as a code on a patient who was in critical condition, the unit worked together, created a sense of urgency, and resonated the passion to truly care and heal that patient. There is so much I learned on these ICU units.”

Fellow student nurse, Kristen Miller, described her experience as part of the medical team. “Being a part of the medical team is an incredible feeling,” Miller said. “Many people have a role on the medical team like doctors, specialists, nurses, pharmacists, etc. As a student nurse, I got to learn from all these professions. Everyone involved is offering input and recommendations. It’s really neat to hear the rationale behind each member’s comments and how each patient’s background can change the care plan.”

It was a demanding and formative time of clinical learning for the group, and they demonstrated they have what it takes to think and work in nursing — the nation’s No. 1 most trusted profession — and make it rewarding and enjoyable.

Each Student Nurse Brings Distinct Gifts

Throughout the experience, Delumpa spotted her group’s determination and resilience and asserted that each member is outstanding and distinct. She offered the following glimpses into their various personalities and qualities:

“Mimi (Madeline) is funny. No wonder she is student VP of Campus Initiatives. She talks fast and presents her case very efficiently.”

“Kristen is the one most likely to be a professor one day. She loves to assimilate physiology and pharmacology in patient scenarios. She already got a job at Johns Hopkins!”

“Katarina is a very empathic listener. She is very animated and will make an excellent pediatric nurse, which is her desire.”

“Mary Kelly is the quiet observer. She is very sharp, and her nurse preceptors are always impressed by her.”

“Marianna has great observation skills and asks a lot of questions. She used to work at UTMB within a medical residency program. She both completed her nursing requirements and had a baby in her final semester!”

“Stephanie is also one of the quiet ones, and she is very perceptive and open to feedback. She is enthusiastic and showed an interest in forensic science during our visit to the hospital morgue.”

PSON Preparation Like No Other

The rigors of PSON, a faith-based, holistic nursing program, have prepared all six to be nurses of the future. They launch into a dynamic career that is both an art and a science.

About UST's Commencement Event

Founder of the global ministry Word on Fire Catholic Ministries and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Bishop Robert Barron, will present the keynote address at the 2021 University of St. Thomas Commencement at 11 a.m. on Sat., May 8, 2021 at the NRG Stadium, NRG Parkway, Houston, 77054. More than 700 undergraduate and graduate students will walk at Commencement.