PCC Nursing Program Angel Bora Ra PCC Nursing Program Angel Bora Ra

An Angel in Healthcare

When Angel Bora Ra—known to her friends as Bora—chose to enroll in Pasadena City College’s nursing program back in 2017, life was still “normal.” She received a total of seven scholarships during her two years at the college and went on to graduate in December 2019.

“I wanted a career I could be proud of at the end of the day,” Bora says. “I wanted to lead a life that helped alleviate some pain and suffering in the world.”

Upon graduating, Bora got an offer for the New Graduate RN Residency Program from Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital in Boyle Heights, which is a 14-week training program that will transition her into a staff nurse.

“I was hired for the Cardiac Step Down Unit, which provides care for patients who are discharged from the ICU after cardiac conditions, such as heart attacks, open-heart surgeries, angiographs, and stent placements,” she explains.

PCC Nursing Program Angel Bora Ra

But when the novel coronavirus pandemic began, Bora’s situation changed.

“I was scheduled to start March 23, but due to COVID-19, the start date was postponed to April 20,” she says. “The hospital needed time to ensure the safety of their patients and staff by complying with physical distancing and not congregating in groups larger than 10.”

As hospitals adjust to newly unfolding evidence and regularly changing guidelines regarding the novel coronavirus, it can be disorienting and daunting for a new nurse. Bora, however, is grateful to be in her position.

“It may surprise people outside of healthcare,” she says, “but there isn’t a lot of hiring of nurses right now. While Governor Newsome and Mayor Garcetti urged nurses to sign up for Healthcorps and join the workforce if they hadn’t been otherwise, the demand for healthcare is really only strong for COVID-19 specific units, and Labor and Delivery remain unchanged, as babies are still being born. However, all across the board, other units are experiencing low census.”

In fact, many hospitals have implemented a hiring freeze for new nurses. This is especially significant for new graduate nurses like Bora, as hospitals have to invest a lot of time and energy into transitioning those graduate nurses from students to professionals.

“I feel extremely lucky that I was hired before COVID-19 affected healthcare,” Bora says. “Many hospitals have laid off their current staff. I empathize with all my fellow December 2019 cohort new grad nurses and the soon-to-graduate June 2020 nurses, whom are uncertain about what the future holds for them.”

As of last week, Bora has completed her 2-week orientation and is starting the 12-week preceptorship in the Cardiac Step Down Unit, which has recently been converted to a COVID-19 floor.

“Fortunately for me, my orientation and preceptorship have not been shortened or short-changed in any way,” explains Bora. “I have heard anecdotally that other newly hired nurses in other hospital programs have had shortened orientations and training periods due to COVID-19. Some even had 100% online orientations, or their start dates were pushed back to June or July.”

As Bora continues with the program, she’s beginning to understand the impact that nursing has—not only on the community as a whole, but individual lives as well.

“It is really an emotional experience, as most patients are not allowed visitors,” she explains. “You can feel a patient’s anxiety and how simple touch and communication alleviates that to a certain extent. It is also really touching to see how all healthcare staff rally together and support one another, especially during this time.”

At the beginning of 2020, Bora was on track to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Cal State Fullerton (CSUF) by the end of the year. In light of recent events, she expects to graduate one semester later than intended.

“While I am currently a distance student, CSUF’s RN to BSN program has a couple of classes that require face-to-face days,” she says. “In Fall 2020, I will be taking a course called Population Health, and it involves a clinical day once a week at an elementary school or community clinic. I have my fingers crossed that the clinical placement is not jeopardized.”

After she receives her BSN, Bora says she plans to stay at Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital to gain experience. Although, as a BSN-prepared nurse, she hopes to one day land a position in an ICU, as the specialty requires lifelong learning and helping those who are in critical conditions.

“Nursing is a career that requires compassion, something I believe is strong within me,” Bora says. “I feel compassion for my patients, and I try to give them an understanding of what is happening. Even if the information points to a bleak outcome, I believe knowing provides reassurance and gives the patient and their family a sense of autonomy in their future decisions.”