The Frontier community is proud to have students and alumni serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to sharing their stories in order to provide insight, hope, and encouragement. Thank you to all the health care workers who are risking their own well-being daily to serve our nation. Click here to read more stories of courage and dedication.
The past several months have been rife with troubling news as we have seen a global pandemic change our daily lives. Meanwhile, our modern-day heroes of the healthcare system like Frontier Nursing University (FNU) student Sunoz “Sunny” Soroosh have continued to adapt and serve without hesitation.
Soroosh is a student of FNU’s Nurse-Midwifery (CNEP) program. She had expected to graduate in the Fall of 2020, after also completing her Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner (WHCNP) Certificate. Soroosh was only 14 births away from graduating in mid-March when the pandemic brought her student clinicals to a screeching halt. After finding out clinicals would be postponed, she switched her part-time RN job at Planned Parenthood to full-time but was laid off two weeks later, like many others forced out of work in the wake of the pandemic. While disappointed, it didn’t stop her from looking for an opportunity to serve. Soroosh has been a resident of New York City for 10 years, so she naturally felt called to help those in her community.
“I never expected to find myself jobless and in the middle of one of the worst-hit areas by a pandemic, but I quickly adapted and found a way to help,” she said. “I was afraid at the beginning, but I tried to be brave and think of those who came before me — my mentors and role models at Frontier.”
Soroosh took a position at the Javits Center Medical Station in April, working alongside the U.S. Military. Javits Center, which is a large convention center known for hosting the New York City ComicCon and other events, was converted into a makeshift hospital for about a month when the surge hit.
At the epicenter of the pandemic, Soroosh worked alongside other nurses providing direct bedside care and helping patients wean off of oxygen so they could return home. Meanwhile, like many healthcare workers, she had to make personal sacrifices and isolated herself for the sake of her loved ones.
“I lived alone in a hotel to prevent my loved ones from getting sick and used a rental car to avoid public transportation and risking exposure to others,” she said.
While working in close proximity to the virus, Soroosh witnessed the inadequacies of the U.S. healthcare system, especially the lack of resources and qualified staff available in minority communities.
“We were not prepared for this pandemic,” she said. “I found this to be especially true in public hospitals in poor inner-city neighborhoods. Many deaths were preventable.”
Despite the frustrations, she says she also witnessed positive changes for maternity and family care. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo eased out-of-hospital birthing restrictions to give women more options during the pandemic. This led to the creation of Jazz Birth Center, a midwife-led birthing center for low-risk pregnancies, where Soroosh works as a birth assistant. Soroosh has seen its positive impact on the women of NYC throughout her time working there.
In addition to her work at Jazz Birth Center, Soroosh is also working as an RN at a public COVID-19 testing site run by the city, as well as finishing her clinical hours at North Central Bronx Hospital.
Thank you, Sunny, for being brave and answering the call in New York City. Your Frontier community is very proud of you.