Dorian Issac, ’15, A Coppin Nurse on the Frontline of COVID-19Published Tuesday, May 12th, 2020
Dorian Issac, Class of 2015, shares his story.
Every day is potentially traumatic on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic for alum Dorian Issac, ’15, “This time has been scary. We still don’t know every detail about COVID-19, and personal protective equipment (PPE) has been scarce. However, I report to work and do my best for my patients because that is what nurses do.” Dorian provides direct patient care, performing COVID-19 testing. The symptoms and effects vary. “Some patients are discharged home with instructions to isolate, while some deteriorate quickly and need ventilator support.” “The most rewarding experience during this time,” continued Dorian, “is seeing a patient be extubated from the ventilator and discharged from the Intensive Care Unit.” The most challenging experience is when he must Facetime or call family and friends, so they can say goodbye to their love ones.
Dorian believes this pandemic has revealed a truth about America’s healthcare system. “We are reactive instead of proactive. We knew about COVID-19 in late October or early November. The government and healthcare system were slow to respond.” And the turmoil caused by the coronavirus is especially wreaking havoc on African Americans. “There is certainly a correlation between poverty, education, crime, and health outcomes; and African American communities bare the weight.”
When New York needed support, multiple travel agencies began contacting nurses, offering travel contracts with exceptional pay ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 per week. Some of his colleagues in the field went, and they are working at various hospitals in the city. “I would have loved to go to New York to support my fellow healthcare professionals during this pandemic. However, I had existing obligations.”
In addition to patient care, Dorian provides leadership as a Charge Nurse. His specialty is emergency nursing. “I have trained new nurses who reported to the emergency department to support our efforts. I have, also, collaborated with various disciplines in the hospital to develop processes and policy to keep veterans and staff safe.” Currently, he is teaching Pathophysiology; and works at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Dorian is leaving Baltimore and relocating to Los Angeles, CA. He has accepted a position as Nurse Educator at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. “I will have oversight of clinical education for the emergency department. The role includes project management, research, policy development, and evidence-based practice research. I have just completed the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Bowie State University. I am looking forward to taking my board exam once I am settled in Los Angeles. I plan to pursue a PhD in Public Health, specializing in Health Policy and Management, at the University of California, Los Angeles.”
“I encourage every nurse to go beyond the bedside. As you see areas for improvement while practicing, it is your responsibility to advocate for change. We need you at the table, especially if you are African American,” concluded Dorian Issac, MBA, MSN, APRN, CRNP, FNP-BC.