UMSL DNP preps Sally Breen for coronavirus care on the edge of Navajo Nation


Sally Breen

Sally Breen

The whir of helicopters overhead marked the beginning of coronavirus for Sally Breen.

The 2018 University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate would arrive at her nurse practitioner job at Canyonlands Urgent Care in Page, Arizona, and listen as people were flown to Flagstaff, Arizona, or St George, Utah, for critical care from the small hospital across the street. The nearest hospitals are 2½ hours by ground transportation. During that time, she dressed in the same plastic, knee-length blue gown that she’d disinfect and hang to dry between patients.

“We have other gowns, but I feel most protected in these,” Breen said. “If I feel safe, I’m going to keep coming to work.”

It was all part of the surreal experience of caring for patients in a remote town on the edge of the Navajo Nation in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, Breen and her colleagues have been dealing with a flood of testing amid changing regulations.

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