Starting a Career in Nursing—In 2020

Post-Baccalaureate Health Program graduates share what it’s really like working as a nurse during a pandemic

It is no secret that last year was quite a challenge! Now imagine finishing nursing school and starting your nursing career all around that time. We know a nurse's role is often underestimated, let alone while navigating an unknown disease.

This is why now—more than ever—we want to recognize our nurses during National Nurses Month! We are proud to have so many Post-Baccalaureate Health Professions Program alumni who are or go on to become nurses. Whether we are serving career changers or GPA boosters, we are honored to be part of their educational journey.

We recently chatted with some of our soon-to-be and recent alumni about what the nursing field and school has been like throughout COVID-19. Check out what they each had to say. And, of course, from all of us at UC Berkeley Extension, thank you to our nurses for all that you do!

What has it been like being a nurse/nursing student throughout the COVID-19 pandemic?




Spring 2021 alumna
Upcoming graduate student at Emory University's Master of Nursing (MN)

“Working in the medical field has been challenging but rewarding during COVID-19. Though one would expect remote learning to be infinitely more difficult in comparison to in-person learning, the faculty and instructors at UC Berkeley are dedicated to supporting their students and providing all of the practical skills and knowledge they need to be excellent health care providers. I feel confident working in the health care field while being equipped with what I learned in the program.”



Current program student
Nurse at John Muir Medical Center

“Being a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging yet rewarding. Nurses (and all other health care professionals) have had to adapt and learn new ways of how to take care of our patients safely. But through these challenging times, the rewards have been much greater and we have found that there is a light at the end of the tunnel with vaccinations starting to reach more of the community. Additionally, because of the post-bacc program’s resilience in striving to provide the best education, I am certain that the next generation of health care providers will be nothing but exceptional.”



Current program student
Nurse at Kaiser, San Francisco Bay Area
Will be attending UC Irvine School of Medicine (Class of 2025)

“Working as an ER nurse during COVID-19 has been challenging. It was a scary time for everyone because we had no idea what to expect. I am grateful to work with an amazing team of nurses, physicians and techs during this pandemic.”




2020 program alumnus
Current graduate nursing student at the University of San Francisco

“During COVID-19, studying nursing has been challenging and fascinating. Our campus has been closed for a year so I take courses and practice skills at home. I've literally practiced injections on a banana and taken blood-pressure readings on myself at home!”

“At the same time, the pandemic made me realize how essential good health care is and it's been exciting to be a part of that. The rise of digital health has been an eye-opener, too. I think telehealth, remote monitoring and machine learning all improve health care quality and make it more patient-centered. I think it's a great time to enter the field.”

“The post-bacc program helped me develop the study skills and time management to persevere. Also, courses in my nursing program are structured similarly to post-bacc courses: they meet once a week with frequent quizzes and tons of assigned reading.”


Be sure to check back in throughout the month of May to learn more about what our alumni are up to!


Shout-Outs to Nurses From Nurses