RCBC 3+1 Nursing student joins pandemic frontlines to test for COVID-19
Thursday, Apr 02, 2020

David Paul

Working on the frontlines during a public health crisis can seem like a daunting and chaotic task. But when you ask someone with as calm a demeanor as Rowan College at Burlington County Nursing student David Paul, it sheds new light on the situation. 

“I wasn’t sure what to expect when tasked with swabbing new patients, but when I saw the first person nervously pull up in her car, with a look of absolute terror on her face, I wanted to make her feel as comfortable as possible. I smiled (even though I was wearing an N95 mask), waved and was able to really connect with her when we spoke,” Paul recalled. “I try to remember that these are human beings coming through, and it’s a scary prospect for anyone.” 

It’s no surprise that David was able to ease someone’s anxiety during this time. When you first meet him, you’re immediately disarmed by his warm smile and positive energy. A senior Nursing student in RCBC’s 3+1 program, David decided that he wanted to become a nurse twelve years ago, following his experiences working in food service at Masonic Home in Burlington. While there, he developed a rapport with patients and was encouraged to pursue a nursing career.  

“My main focus going into nursing was to help others who may not be able to help themselves. There’s such a reward and benefit to doing that,” Paul said. “When I see people in need, especially when it comes to their health, I try to do anything I can to help them. We’re all in this world together, and it’s important to be there for one another.”

David, along with other senior nursing students, completed training in nose-swab technique and was fitted for masks and other personal protective equipment on March 24. Two days later, he and his colleagues conducted COVID-19 testing at the Emergency Services Center off Woodlane Road.   

Paul, of Burlington City, commented that he felt as though he wouldn’t have been as confident in volunteering if it weren’t for the RCBC nursing faculty sharing their wealth of nursing knowledge. He chose RCBC due to the convenience of location and the flexibility offered through the 3+1 program. 

“I really like that the program provides a way for students to further their education with a flexible, structured plan,” Paul remarked. 

As for the pandemic, Paul commented that although many of us have this feeling of being invincible, it’s important to realize the gravity of the situation. 

“This is something we’ve never seen before. I do have to be mindful of standard precautions when dealing with the public, but I work in a hospital, and we’re always dealing with precautions, so it’s not new to me. It’s important to be mindful of social distancing, to wash your hands and to carry wipes and gloves,” David commented.

He also recommends taking personal breaks to clear your mind and complete an activity or project at home. A self-proclaimed people-person, David’s interpersonal skills will take him far, and they’ve already made a significant impact on those anxious about Coronavirus testing. 

“I feel like this will ultimately bring people together. As human beings, we need that interpersonal connection. We’ll really appreciate it once this has passed,” Paul said.