Holding Tough During COVID & Adding an R.N. To The End of Her Name

The pressure among CHRISTUS Health’s nursing staff at times can feel insurmountable as they work to meet the demands of the pandemic and the latest surge of the Delta variant. And, although pushed to the limit at times, especially when young nurses see patients their own age or friends coming in very sick, these nurses want to help people. They want to save lives.

One nurse, from CHRISTUS Santa Rosa-Westover Hills in San Antonio detailed some of her nursing journey especially during this last 16 months. Stephanie Guzman actually went through nursing school during the pandemic. Her Clinical Director of Medical Telemetry (heart floor) told us this about Stephanie. “Her perseverance to continue her studies to be an RN during the pandemic and caring for COVID patients is remarkable. Team Tele is grateful to have had her in our team and she will be greatly missed as she moves on to the ICU. We are all excited to see what the future has in store for her.”

As Stephanie moves now into one of our most critical units, ICU, she’ll encounter on average 95 percent of COVID critical ill patients who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine. However, she remains positive. We asked her to tell her story. How she was promoted, and furthered her career at CHRISTUS through the worst of odds.

          “It’s no secret that this past year has been difficult for all of us whether we work in health care or another industry. I started working at a nursing home, then an LTAC (Long Term Acute Hospital) and then in 2018 started on the telemetry unit (cardiac care). The more I learned from the nurses around me the more I realized becoming an R.N. was absolutely what I wanted to accomplish sooner rather than later.

I went back to school in April 2020 when just about two weeks prior we entered a lockdown because of a new virus that was taking the world by storm, a virus that no one knew anything about except that it was going to change our lives. On top of starting nursing school again, and it being the first time everything was going to be done virtually, I also found out my unit was going to be the designated COVID unit. After some long and difficult conversations with my family, I came to the realization that now more than ever, my community and my coworkers needed me, even if some only saw me as “just an LVN” (Licensed Vocational Nurse.) Some people think a lot less of LVNs, so naturally I felt like I had to constantly prove myself to everyone around me. Prove that I was educated, caring and compassionate and that I knew what I was talking about when it came to nursing and being a nurse.

          Every waking moment that I had I spent studying for school and also reading and learning everything I could about COVID for my patients to better care for them. I did this so I could be a better nurse regardless of not having ‘RN’ behind my name yet. For the next year and a half I worked 12-hour night shifts. On my days off, I slept for two to three hours and then got up, went to class, studied and kept learning everything I could. I kept seeing those two beautiful letters behind my name: Stephanie Guzman, RN and it kept me going on the toughest days. This virus taught me more than ever to keep pushing through, keep going for what we want and no one person truly knows everything and that we can’t do things alone.

Nursing school is hard enough without the added stress of battling a virus that was affecting our entire community and had a high mortality rate. I kept pushing. I had an amazing support system at home and at work. Nurses teaching me and empowering me to keep going, to keep studying, and to keep pushing to continue to be an amazing nurse because we’re all needed now more than ever.”


Congratulations to Stephanie and to all CHRISTUS nurses who keep on going. Despite all the things that seem against you. Thank you for all the healing and hope you give to those you serve.