Drouin attacking COVID-19 as Case Investigator in San Diego

BSN graduate Emily Drouin, also a DNP student, reflects on her new role and preparation by UAB School of Nursing

Photo: Emily Drouin By Hunter Carter
Limiting the spread of COVID-19 has been a daunting task for medical professionals throughout the United States and world, but for University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing alumna and current doctor of nursing practice student Emily Drouin, BSN, RN, it’s all in a day’s work.

Drouin, who earned her bachelor’s of science in nursing from UAB in 2019, accepted the role of COVID-19 Case Investigator for San Diego County, California in July 2020 and is responsible for contacting individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and providing health education and guidance to interrupt ongoing disease transmission.

“The process of reaching out, informing and educating individuals about COVID-19 can be difficult at times,” Drouin said. “But if UAB taught me anything it’s to be patient and empathize with people, because a lot of times they don’t understand what’s going on and are scared.”

In February 2021, San Diego County had the 10th highest confirmed COVID-19 cases by county and the 18th highest number of deaths caused by COVID-19 by county in the country. With San Diego County being a hot-spot for COVID-19, Drouin’s role is vital to limiting the spread of the virus and overall care of the community. And with vaccine distribution underway, she has been called to the frontlines to administer the vaccine to patients.

“We are in phase 1B of our vaccination process right now, which includes health care providers and patients 65 and older,” said Drouin. “The clinic where I am is vaccinating around 1,000 people a day at these areas we call ‘supercenters,’ which are typically complexes or closed off locations that can handle a big capacity all at once.”

Drouin said her education from the UAB School of Nursing taught her how to properly communicate with patients going through dire situations such as COVID-19. She added being able to empathize and communicate with patients is a skill that took some time to learn, but that classes and clinicals at UAB helped provide the tools for her to have expand those skills further, to get to where she is now.

Even with Drouin being more than 2,000 miles away, she remains active with her alma mater. She is currently enrolled in the school’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and is a Senator in the School’s Nursing Graduate Student Association and is excited to be a voice for graduate students in the School.

“The goal is to promote the School of Nursing throughout the community and spread the word about all of the benefits of a UAB nursing education, as well as the services offered to students,” said Drouin. “We raise money in a number of different ways whether it be through donations or selling T-shirts—to basically give back to nursing students. We recently raised money for Blazer Kitchen, which provides food and resources to UAB employees, students, patients and their families.”

Drouin said that her goal as an NGSA Senator is to not only be a leader for the students but to help mentor other students.

“Life will really hit you hard once you graduate, so make sure to enjoy college and the college life,” Drouin said. “I worried too much about little things and didn’t get to enjoy everything UAB and Birmingham had to offer during my undergraduate years, so now that I have a voice, I don’t want other students missing out on the fun.”

Following her graduation in 2019, Drouin moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where she worked in a rheumatology clinic. She then moved with her partner to San Diego, California where she has been since. Drouin, who is specializing as a family nurse practitioner, is expected to graduate in December 2023. Once she earns her DNP, Drouin’s goal is to practice as a nurse practitioner while also doing quality improvement research. As she looks toward the future, Drouin also hopes to one day work in health policy.

Read 1369 times Last modified on September 30, 2021

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