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Working the COVID-19 Frontlines: Alumna Story

Working the COVID-19 Frontlines: Alumna Story
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Working the COVID-19 Frontlines: Alumna Story

by Euphemia Binda on April 10, 2020

My husband and I moved to South Carolina in August of 2009. I was already a nursing student when we moved, but could not get into a nursing program at Clemson right away; so I decided to do the Pre-Medical program at SWU while hoping to finish my program in nursing. I graduated with a BA in Biology in May 2011 and finished my practical nursing program in August 2011. My intention was to use my bachelor's degree in biology with an associate's degree in nursing to get into graduate nursing school. 

Euphemia and Pascal Binda pose for a picture at Euphemia's SWU graduation ceremony

Attending SWU was not my original plan, but it was a very solid foundation that has given me a broad understanding of the nursing practice. Studying at SWU was a whole package in one; it was not just about the educational upbringing, but the moral and spiritual upbringing is what has guided me throughout. We were taught by experienced professors who were also mentors. They were not only about our academic success, but also grooming us into real professionals.

"It was not just about the educational upbringing, but the moral and spiritual upbringing that has guided me throughout."

I began my nursing career at the National Healthcare Cooperation in Anderson, SC. I was transferred to their Bluffton facility when we moved to Savannah, Georgia. In 2015, I decided to leave long-term care and work in an acute care setting because I love to challenge myself constantly. I started working at Memorial Health University Medicine Center in Savannah. It is a level one trauma center with over 600 beds. I started in the neuro-medical surgery floor and later moved to the critical care division where I have been for the past three years. I currently work in the medical ICU. Our floor is the COVID-19 unit of the hospital and we receive critically ill patients from hospitals all around coastal Georgia. These times are challenging times as death is becoming our new normal. 

The greatest reward is seeing the smile on my patients' faces. Giving someone a reason to smile during the most vulnerable circumstances. Thinking about people dying alone in the hospitals is very challenging. I spoke to a patient last night: because I'm always goofy and making jokes, we laughed a bit. She touched my arms and told me "you're strong". She was getting ready to be moved to a regular room because she was feeling better until things changed for the worst. Within hours she went into respiratory distress and subsequently arrested. The fragility of life scares me. Going to work daily knowing I could die from being exposed is scary. Some days I come back feeling heart broken, other days I come back happy when we successfully turned a difficult situation around.

The greatest reward is seeing the smile on my patients' faces.

Every day is a gift. I miss the music at SWU, I have those chapel days in my head daily. I made some really great friends, and I cherish all who impacted me one way or the other. My name is Euphemia Binda, and I am still a work in progress.

Tags: alumni, biology, nursing, pre-med, coronavirus, covid-19