Even working in nursing for more than 20 years and teaching as a clinical instructor at Regis College for nearly 7 could not fully equip Anthony Bianco MS ’20 for the past year working in a COVID ICU.
“I knew my education and experience had gotten me as prepared as possible,” he writes, “but I’m not sure anyone could have prepared for this.”
For most of his career, Anthony worked in the Neuro ICU unit of the prestigious Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He chose adult geriatrics drawing on projections that the population of adults 65 and over will double by 2050, knowing that most of his patients there are part of this demographic (or will be soon).
“Leaving the comfort of the Neuro ICU which I knew well and spending weeks in the COVID ICU was some of the hardest nursing I have ever done,” he writes. “Between limited staffing and the fear of what we didn’t know, especially in the beginning, I found myself seeking a different level in myself…COVID and all the challenges it has brought with it has changed me as a person and as a healthcare provider forever. We were all asked to make changes and sacrifices both at home and at work and we’re still adapting to those changes.”
Yet despite the hardships, Anthony found the crisis “only validated my decision to get an advanced degree and contribute more to the profession.” Teaching at Regis, he adds, “reinvigorated my love for education and learning. Regis gave me the incentive and resources to pursue this goal of becoming a nurse practitioner and the more time I spent with the amazing professors there, the more I knew this was the right path for me.”
Anthony wanted to provide the same inspiration for his students. “I saw myself in each one of them, eager to learn but afraid of not meeting expectations. I will most certainly revisit teaching opportunities in the future but for now I plan on focusing on my new role as a Nurse Practitioner.”
Even as he exits school for now, Anthony recalls how his experience as an instructor dovetailed with those as a student:
“One of the most influential professors at Regis was also the mother of one of my very first nursing students who I taught in my very first group. When I met my professor as I began the actual nurse practitioner courses, she spoke of how her daughter enjoyed me as a teacher and she promised to do the same for me as my teacher. Well, she was my mentor and friend throughout the program and I credit her immensely for my success. What’s more, her daughter was right there next to me as a student, now my equal enduring the challenges of NP school. It was humbling to see my once young student nurse now sharing my experience in graduate school while her mom guided me and taught me.”