Tricia Eusala, '13
In a trying year for hospitals and medical professionals, finding an escape from the darkness was integral for Class of 2013 alumna Tricia Eusala, an ICU nurse and UCLA nursing school graduate. Although passionate about her job, the challenges of seeing thousands of patients infected with COVID-19 and actually working in a COVID unit for a month, required a way to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To avoid burnout, Eusala created a YouTube channel named TriciaYsabelle, where she makes a variety of videos giving advice to aspiring nurses and nursing students. Making YouTube videos also gives Eusala an avenue to give important information to future nurses that she herself didn’t have when applying to schools, and most of all a way to express herself creatively. Her interests in both video-making and advising can be traced back to her high school days at Bishop Alemany, where class projects in Miguel Pimentel or Nick Sithi’s classes and leadership positions in ASB inspired her to use her creativity to help others.
“I've always found that with things that I did at Bishop Alemany, I did a lot of mentorship in different ways and I was like why not combine what I do know--which is nursing--and mentoring younger people who want to be nurses. It's been really awesome because I feel like a lot of my job is really technical and not always as creative as I want it to be, so this has kind of brought me back to that creative side where I really enjoy creating things,” said Eusala.
Along with discovering a passion for mentoring, Eusala was able to get into her dream school while attending Bishop Alemany. UCLA’s School of Nursing currently has an acceptance rate of 2%, meaning that an acceptance is a highly desired and challenging accomplishment. Eusala was determined from the start of her high school career that UCLA was where she wanted to end up, and pursued it throughout the years by participating in many extracurriculars such as ASB, tutoring, and leading multiple retreats.
“I just remember being like, ‘Mr. Guante [her counselor at the time], I'm going to do whatever it takes to get in and no one's gonna stop me’. Obviously, it's a yes or no, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to get in. That's kind of partly why I was really involved, because I knew from freshman year that this was my end goal,” explained Eusala.
Eusala was set on her path for college as a nurse when she arrived at Bishop Alemany, but she was not always so sure about her future career. The women in her life were nurses, including her mother who came to America as a nurse certified in the Philippines, and then had to undergo more schooling in order to be recognized in the U.S. as a nurse. Eusala names her mother as a great source of inspiration because of the hard work she put in to be able to work in a new country, reminding her that challenges may come but she has the resilience to overcome them. Eusala had been considering becoming a doctor until she saw firsthand how much responsibility, importance, and resilience nurses held.
“My grandma is a nurse in the Philippines, and then my mom is a nurse, so there was kind of this inkling of, ‘Are you going to go into nursing?’and I was like, no, I'm not gonna be a nurse, they don't have a lot of autonomy, they don't have a lot of say, and they don't really ask you for your input on things. I started to volunteer out here as I grew older and started thinking about if nursing was really going to be for me, and volunteered at a local community hospital down the street. I worked with nurses in the same day surgery center, and just watching them recover patients from their procedures and watching them talk to doctors to clarify orders was really intriguing to me, because that was something I hadn't really seen,” said Eusala.
After she decided to become a nurse, next came choosing an area of focus. Due to a scary personal experience, Eusala chose the intensive care unit as her specialization.
“My grandpa got really sick in the Philippines, and he ended up in the ICU. I remember thinking it was the scariest thing to be in ICU, not knowing if he was alive or if he was breathing on his own and that had really struck a chord in me, and inspired me to want to be that source of helping the family feel more comfortable and educating them, so the experience of them being in the ICU was less scary just because they understood what was going on. Because it's really scary when you feel like you're not in control and you don't even know what's going on, so I wanted to be that person for them, and I ended up realizing that ICU nursing was where my passion was at,” recalled Eusala on the moment she recognized where her passion as a nurse lied.
In addition to making patients and families more comfortable, Eusala enjoys the more fast-paced, difficult parts of her job. Having to decide how to best treat a patient and use critical thinking to improve a person’s health all come with the territory of nursing, and Eusala genuinely enjoys it. Throughout the pandemic, Eusala also admired the teamwork and support that she witnessed and participated in the hospital. Nurses helped each other with personal protective equipment, and came up with creative ways to overcome the new problems that traveled their way. Amidst negativity and denial nurses faced and still face, at the end of the day what mattered most to Eusala was that her patients were able to leave her care better than when they arrived.
“Some days were really exhausting and I was feeling burnt out. I'm sure collectively we as a society feel burnt out from that whole year, but it was really hard on the nurses watching people deteriorate before your eyes, and having people tell you this is fake, or having people tell you there's the “China virus”, and seeing all these racist events coming out. It was really exhausting on different ends, but also really rewarding. Once you see those patients that were in bad shape be able to walk out of a hospital, and knowing that you made an impact and helped make sure that's the reason why they're here today because you fought for them. That's an awesome feeling,” said Eusala.
Just as she hopes to improve the lives of her patients, Eusala invites her subscribers on YouTube to ask any questions in her direct messages. Her overall mission is to reduce the anxiety surrounding nursing school, doing so by giving helpful tips and showing pieces of her life in the profession. She hopes to bring the viewer into her experiences, creating for them a world in which they can imagine themselves in her shoes.
“For me it's not just about hearing myself talk at the end of the day, but hoping that I can tell a story that someone can relate to. Disney Imagineering has actually inspired a lot of my creativity and what I do today because I want to create an experience for that person, even though it's just me talking in a video. They [the viewer] would be able to imagine that this is someone that they can be and this is something that they can do, and I think YouTube is a good platform for me to be able to do that because I'm taking you through my experiences and what I've done. Creating that way is not just telling, it's showing and storytelling,” concluded Eusala.
To watch Eusala’s most recent video and view her channel, please click on the link: https://youtu.be/iyBooDTgT0c.
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