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Samantha and Bettina
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Bettina C. Eulie, Caldwell University clinical nursing instructor, and nursing student Samantha Guerra ’22.

As a graduating nursing student, Samantha Guerra ’21 was not sure if she was prepared with clinical experiences due to the COVID-19 disruptions. “I was nervous that perhaps I did not have enough of the hands-on experience we needed.” That worry was proven wrong on a recent Friday morning while she was working at her clinical site at St. Joseph’s University Hospital in Paterson. 

Guerra was doing her hourly rounding to check in on patients in the medical surgical unit. She visited a 57-year-old patient and noticed she had face weakness. “I knew I needed to assess the client’s responsiveness, provide oxygen and get help right away,” said Guerra. 

“She took the initiative, put the oxygen on the patient, called for help to the other nurses” and sprung into action, said Bettina Eulie, Caldwell University clinical nursing instructor who oversees the students on the floor.   

“I was proud that I could use the skills I learned in didactic and in the lab to recognize the signs of a suspected stroke.The skills we practice in the lab come together when we step foot onto the unit,” said Guerra. “I felt an overwhelming amount of relief and happiness when I saw the rapid response team enter the room, because I knew that with my nurse, myself and the team our patient was in good hands.” It was an intense experience, and “time blended together” as she stood in the room with the team members, answering their myriad of questions. 

Guerra’s “rapid assessment led to a quicker response by the rapid response team, who was then able to begin treatment,” said Eulie. The assessments, she said, “were spot on.”

It was a happy moment for everyone on the floor. The staff nurses congratulated Guerra. “Even the resource nurse took off her mask, and she (Guerra) could see her big smile,” said Eulie.

“I’m like a proud mama,” said Eulie, whose entire career has been focused on clinical and nursing education. Moments like this make it all worthwhile for her.      

Bettina C. Eulie, MA, MSN, RN, Caldwell University clinical nursing instructor (4th from right) and nursing student Samantha Guerra ’21 (second from left) with the other nursing students in the Dedicated Education Unit at St. Joseph’s University Hospital.

Caldwell nursing students at St. Joseph’s do their clinical work in a Dedicated Education Unit (DEU), which Eulie oversees. Only 16 students are picked for the selective program each semester. Nursing students work with four to six patients often from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  

Guerra said the DEU provides a great opportunity for student growth, and she is now much more confident in her assessment skills. “It was the most rewarding experience I have had in my med-surg clinical rotation.” She is ready to pursue her career and hopes it will be in labor and delivery. “I am excited to call myself a nurse. I thank Professor Eulie for all that she does for her clinical students.” She said Eulie gives students the motivation and encouragement they need to become confident nurses. “I encourage all nursing students to take the leap and apply to the DEU program.”