Urban News Staff Reports
Berkeley College is responding to community need during the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis, both as healthcare workers in the trenches and by donating vital supplies to area hospitals and emergency management efforts.
Berkeley College faculty members like Joseph Charleman, CST, CSFA, CRCST, LPN, Chair, Surgical Technology and Surgical Processing Technician programs, and Eva Skuka, MD, PhD, Dean of the School of Health Studies, answered a call for volunteers from the New Jersey State Nurses Association. After completing a short training, they were assigned to a mobile testing center.
“As a nurse, it is part of your oath to care for your patients, no matter what the diagnosis,” said Charleman, who administered 150 COVID-19 tests on his first day, and returned to the testing site the following week. “We train our students for these real-life situations when they complete their clinical rotations. I don’t feel fear – I just see the need for kind care.”
Many Berkeley College graduates have gone on to successful careers in healthcare and are currently serving on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19, at medical centers including New York-Presbyterian Hospital; Mount Sinai Health System; Columbia University Irving Medical Center and others.
Berkeley College has also donated more than 50,000 medical supplies, including isolation gowns, shoe covers, gloves and surgical masks, to area hospitals and emergency management efforts. The supplies had been available for use by students preparing for careers in the Surgical Technology, Surgical Processing Technician, Medical Assistant, Practical Nurse and other programs offered through the Berkeley College School of Health Studies.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we’ve seen before,” Skuka said. “We have to find ways to pool our resources and work together to support hospitals and healthcare workers on the frontlines who are caring for our communities during this crisis. To make a difference you do not have to be brilliant or perfect. You just have to care.”
In March, the College delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Hackensack Surgery Center in Hackensack, NJ, which continues to serve patients facing surgical emergencies. Approximately 20 students in the Berkeley College Surgical Technology program have completed clinical rotations at the facility over the past 10 years.
“These supplies are needed to ensure the safety of both the patient and the healthcare professional,” said Demetrios Econopouly, DPM, Chief of Podiatric Service and Residency Director, Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades Medical Center, who also operates at the Hackensack Surgery Center. “They will help us on the front lines as we respond to this crisis, and we are grateful.”
Charleman said the current public health crisis presents lessons for his students about becoming a dedicated healthcare professional.
“To my students, I would say that you have to have compassion. Every patient deserves healthcare,” he said.