Alumni Class Notes
Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing alumni updates
Porscha Adams, P.A.-C. ’04
Covid has changed the day-to-day operations of our Occupational Health Clinic over the last year. Managing positive employees, coworker risk tracing and vaccination of 1,400 employees are all new adventures we’ve embarked on. We’ve adjusted to the daily, sometimes hourly changes in operations. Now back up to a full schedule of injured workers on top of these new duties can be taxing. We take it day by day, supporting each other and laughing whenever possible.
Photo is with Allison O’Brien, M.H.S. ’15, P.A.-C.
Ann Bruner-Welch, P.A.-C. ’95, D.F.A.A.P.A.
Can’t believe I retired a year ago, just before the pandemic struck. Our travel plans went out the window, but the long list of home projects sure received attention. We have been able to complete several, as well as welcome a new family member. Maintaining CME has been a bit more challenging than anticipated because my family is requiring more of the time I had planned. Such is life. I taught a little for a P.A. school — was fun, but a lot like work, mostly because of Zoom. Many screens were turned off, so no feedback that I’m used to — in fact I wasn’t even sure if there were people behind those blank screens. I give our regular teachers a lot of credit.
I reflect on my 25-year career. I’m grateful for it. My advice to newer grads: stay flexible, be willing to take on challenges, but maintain your integrity — be true to yourself. You can receive good benefits and retirement when working for larger companies, and, depending on the company or provider(s), you can earn autonomy. You have the right, and should have the expectation, to be treated fairly with respect and dignity. Be cautious of those who don’t give you your due. Best wishes.
Patricia Ann (McCririe) Gericke, F.N.P. ’77
I have been retired for over 25 years now, suffered some losses due to the pandemic but holding my own so far, along with my husband, a retired UC professor. I try to keep abreast of new medical developments. I appreciate hearing from you.
Lori Jagoda, M.S. ’15, R.N., P.H.N.
I am back at work at Amador County Public Health, first as a volunteer to sign people up for COVID testing, then hired as a case investigator/contact tracer. Now I have brushed off my immunization skills and am administering vaccine. All this helps to keep me busy while I wait for the world to one day get back to something closer to normal and take the trips I have had to cancel this past year. I am truly thankful I am able to use my skills to respond to the pandemic.
Melissa Johnson-Camacho, M.S. ’19, R.N.
My role did change! I became California Nurses Association Chief Nurse Rep for UC Davis Medical Center. I never could have imagined the obstacles we faced as advocates for bedside nurses and patients. Sometimes it was hard to speak up, I felt tired of fighting. I continued. I feel like this role was what Betty Irene Moore intended to protect patients and transform nursing leadership. I’m proud to be an alumna on the frontline.
Rebecca Lash, Ph.D. ’15, R.N.
I accepted an assistant professor position at the Indiana University School of Nursing, Fort Wayne. I will be teaching in the undergraduate nursing program and plan to continue my research focused on emergency department utilization among patients with cancer.
Cheryl L. McBeth, M.S. ’15, R.N., N.E.A.-B.C.
Wow what a year it has been... as the pandemic began to make the news, I accepted a temporary interim position as the manager on the oncology/BMT Unit at UC Davis. This was a huge step out of my comfort zone of the Children’s Hospital. I was surprised to discover that I loved my new role, and my home unit was thriving, so I took the plunge and accepted the permanent position. It has been challenging and extremely rewarding to lead a new staff through this last year. On a personal note, to cope, we adopted a COVID puppy we named Willow, and she is the new love of our family. For my own self-care, my husband and I take our fifth wheel and camp monthly. This allows me to relax and refuel my tank so I can be my best self and leader for the staff.
Karen Paolinelli, M.S.N., F.N.P.-C. ’92, P.A.-C.
I began my career in rural health and have remained passionate about the work for nearly 40 years. From building my own outpatient practice and serving as a working clinic director for our hospital based rural health clinic system, to establishing the emergency department fast track with nurse practitioners and physician assistants, I continue to advocate for both patients and practitioners.
While serving as Chief Operation Officer of Madera Community Hospital, I was appointed President of the California Association of Rural Health Clinics. A capstone of my career was being appointed as Chief Executive Officer for Madera Community Hospital in October of 2016. Madera Community Hospital is a private, independent, notfor- profit, 106-bed adult general acute care hospital with four hospital-based rural health clinics, outpatient diagnostic imaging and draw station. In early March of 2019, it was the first in the Central Valley of California to receive and discharge a COVID-19 patient.
Leading a hospital through the pandemic has been life-altering. My resolve to never compromise on quality patient care has been tested beyond my imagination. An increase of very sick patients and shortages of staff and PPE are just a few of the concerns that have kept me up at night. My nursing education started with a desire to improve the health and well-being of my patients. Developing a patient practice has manifested into a lifelong commitment to ensuring Madera Community Hospital and our rural health clinic system provide quality and safe patient care for anyone who seeks our services.
Brooke Peiler, M.S.N. ’18, R.N.
If you would have told me in nursing school that I would be in my second year of my career when a world pandemic hit, I wouldn’t have believed you. 2020 has been a trying year for many of my friends, family, colleagues, patients and their families. Working as an R.N. in the NICU at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, our patients are very fragile as well as vulnerable, making it a special privilege to care and advocate for them. When I am not at work caring for the teeny tinies, I am at home caring for my adorable new goldendoodle puppy, Reese. We brought Reese home a few days before Christmas and we are so in love!
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