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Shoshana Aronowitz, GR’19, PhD, CRNP

“I am a family nurse practitioner and PhD in nursing. I completed my clinical training at the University of Vermont, where I was trained to be a rural health nurse practitioner. Although I am now living in Philadelphia, the skills I learned about practicing in low-resourced settings are relevant to my current passion: the provision of care outside of traditional healthcare spaces like hospitals and clinics.

I currently practice as a buprenorphine provider at Prevention Point, and our services are provided on a mobile van. I also practice street nursing with SOL Collective, a grassroots harm reduction group. I believe that by focusing all our attention on tradition healthcare spaces we as a healthcare community miss the opportunity to provide care to the many people who do not feel safe or comfortable in healthcare spaces (often for good reason, due to horrific histories of racist, classist, and ableist violence in healthcare spaces), and we fail to provide accessible and equitable care to all who need it.

I believe that this work is especially important in the age of COVID-19. Many people are worried about exposure to the virus at hospitals and will avoid seeking care for other ailments in order to keep themselves safe from COVID. It is essential that nurses work to understand the reasons why people avoid seeking care and to create innovative methods of care delivery. The rapid adoption of telehealth during the current pandemic has helped increase healthcare accessibility for many, but does not benefit those who lack phones, computers, or stable housing. Providing good nursing care often means putting ourselves in spaces that are outside of our comfort zones. Inspiring nursing matriarchs like Emma Goldman, Sojourner Truth and Lillian Wald remind me daily of the importance of nursing activism.”

To submit your own story, visit: www.nursing.upenn.edu/humans.