Lebanon native, college student spends summer helping in fight against COVID-19

Coronavirus in Pennsylvania

LEBANON, Pa. (WHTM) — Isabelle Molina, a sophomore psychology major in the pre-med track at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, is a warrior in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Molina, 19, of Lebanon, began working at the Indiana MedExpress in October until the pandemic hit and she was offered a job at her hometown MedExpress in Lebanon – which had transitioned to including patients who may be COVID-19 positive.

“At first, I did think about being at a non-COVID-19 center – I knew I could work for another MedExpress near my hometown that wasn’t seeing patients who wanted COVID-19 testing,” Molina said. “But I decided that I wanted to be a part of this and really try to help during this pandemic.”

In the first two weeks after returning home in March, while balancing her IUP classes via distance education, Molina worked almost 80 hours.

“At first, I worried about what would happen if I got infected with COVID-19. Now, I’ve gotten a bit numb to it,” she said. “This is our job, we are working 12-hour shifts, this is life now. We have grown very close as a team, and we watch out for one another.

“No one is really afraid now; we’ve gotten used to it after doing it so long,” she said. “I know that I am doing everything I can to protect myself. We follow a very specific protocol. We do temperature checks on each other, we are gowned and masked, we do intake by telephone and then meet patients in the parking lot with gowns and masks. There are three exam rooms designated for COVID-19 suspected patients, and we have very strict cleaning procedures specifically for those rooms.”

Recently, Molina refined her career focus to pediatrician and more specifically, a pediatric surgeon.

“I was sick a lot growing up, so I doctors and hospitals were part of my world,” she said. “I had great doctors, and I wanted to pay that forward – to be a great doctor for some other kid. My doctor’s office had a wall of photos of children as infants and then as high school graduates. I want to do that – care for children as they grow up. I really like working with children.”

She’ll continue to work at her Lebanon MedExpress throughout the summer and return to the Indiana MedExpress when she’s back on campus in the fall.

“There are easier jobs, for sure. It’s been hard, but it’s been very rewarding,” she said. “I know that I’m making a difference. Health care is my passion, I couldn’t see myself in any other profession.”

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