University Helps Those on the Frontline of the COVID-19 Pandemic


Courtesy of Villanova University

Alumni of the College of Nursing show school spirit while working in New York City hospitals. 

Jack Birle Staff Writer

The University and alumni of the College of Nursing are working with the medical community to help the response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier in the month, the University announced it would be donating personal protective equipment (PPE) to local healthcare workers.

More than 30,000 pairs of gloves, 600 safety goggles and glasses, disposable lab coats, Tyvek and hazmat suits, sanitizing wipes, masks and face shields were donated to Main Line Health and the Philadelphia Organization of Health Professions Students. These organizations then donated the PPE to frontline healthcare workers in the greater Philadelphia area.

“Donating the PPE we had available on campus was one small way we could help play a role in fighting this pandemic,” Professor of Chemistry and Associate Vice Provost for Research Amanda Grannas said. “The response on campus was overwhelming.”

According to federal officials in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), people in possession of PPE and other medical equipment, like masks, are encouraged to donate to local hospitals and healthcare workers.

The University’s M. Lousie Fitzpatrick College of Nursing has shared stories on its website of University alumni and students who are on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Nurses working in New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore and other cities have shared their stories of treating patients and dealing with the stress that the pandemic has put on the healthcare system.

Emily Cliggett, class of 2019, is a staff nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and shared her story of working during the coronavirus pandemic with a post on the College of Nursing website.

“We are treating acute critical care cancer patients on a continuous basis,” Cliggett said. “With the pandemic unraveling, the team has adjusted accordingly and what an adjustment [it] has been, especially as a new grad.”

Peggy Lyons, class of 1987, per diem staff nurse at Jefferson Home Infusion Service in Philadelphia, wrote about concerns over the lack of PPE available to healthcare workers.

“The need to reuse PPE is especially concerning to me when we see many immunocompromised clients who take chemo down at home,” Lyons said. “Those with known COVID-19 or who are PUI (persons under investigation) do get full PPE…Everyone else gets standard precautions with a mask (one per shift).”

Other accounts by nurses can be found on the M. Lousie Fitzpatrick College of Nursing website.

The University also announced that the Office of Sustainability will be donating 1,200 tulips to health care workers in partnership with Main Line Health. The tulips were grown at the University’s campus garden under the watch of the Villanova Consortium for Agricultural Research and Education (VCARE). Pre-sales of the flowers have been converted into donations for student summer research in VCARE.

We are so pleased that these flowers are able to brighten someone’s day — that’s why we grow them in the first place,” Liesel Schwarz, Villanova’s Sustainability Manager, said. “To know that the flowers are now bringing some happiness to those working the hardest to keep us all safe is more than we could ever ask for.”