Behind the Shield: Navigating the COVID-19 learning curve

I graduated from the adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program in 2018 and am currently a nursing PhD student (class of 2022). I also am a faculty member in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine and work for UT Health Physicians as a nurse practitioner in hospital medicine at University Hospital. I have been on the COVID-19 medicine team for the past three months. It has been a humbling experience. I assess patients at bedside daily as needed throughout the day, order labs and imaging, prescribe medications and work alongside the COVID-19 infectious disease team in consenting and monitoring patients for trial medications.

It’s been a huge learning curve as challenges present almost daily. I am constantly advocating for patients for much-needed procedures. I definitely felt like a student in the beginning by having to learn all that I could from research articles as well as my department to better care for my patients. In the beginning, patients would decompensate pretty quickly, requiring constant assessments and communication with our medicine ICU department. Now, with the use of remdesivir, my patients are doing very well and recovering quickly.

I remember the feeling of amazement sending my first patient home who had a prolonged hospital stay. He was intubated early on in the hospitalization, then eventually downgraded to my team. He cried at discharge and stated, “Thank you for saving my life!” It was such an emotional moment. It’s just such an amazing feeling to see my patients recover and go home, now even sooner than before. I’ve definitely been blessed to care for these patients and am thankful for the opportunity to do so.”

Adriana P. Munoz,
School of Nursing, Class of 2018
Medicine NP, University Hospital

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