Alumni Profiles

Law School Student Returns to Nursing During Pandemic

This story originally appeared on the Rutgers Law School website.

Cailly Simpson graduated with a degree in nursing in 2016 and went to work at NYU Langone as a nurse in the pulmonary unit and step-down unit. She moved to University Hospital in Newark and worked in a medical oncology unit, when she decided to go to law school because she wanted to do more to help her patients.

“I felt there was more I could do within the healthcare field to make a bigger difference,” she said. “I love being a nurse but struggled with it when I had to send patients home in difficult situations knowing there was nothing more I was able to do to help.”

So Simpson enrolled at Rutgers Law School and during her time at law school, worked in the Transactional and Community Lawyering Clinic and served on the Barrister’s Ball Committee. She was able to continue working in nursing part-time through Brightstar Care as a home care nurse throughout law school.

When the Covid-19 pandemic began, Simpson decided to return to nursing to help. She volunteered to go back to NYU Langone in an eight-week crisis response position, working on a medical/surgical unit for four night shifts a week and filling in on other floors as needed.

“It was hard to balance with finishing up law school but I would not have changed my decision for anything,” she said. “I have truly enjoyed being back, even during such challenging times. The nurses were incredibly thankful for all the extra help they received. . .  They are incredible individuals who have powered through this crisis with a smile on their faces the whole time and have continued to put patient care first.”

She reflected on her recent work in the hospital, “I wish people knew how truly hard all medical professionals are working and how difficult it is to watch people be so ill in the hospital and not be allowed to have their families visit. Beyond FaceTime and phone calls our patients are all on their own and many of them are in the hospital for an extended period of time.  We all do our absolute best to try and make our patients feel comforted during such challenging times even when we are scared ourselves. Each nurse I work with goes to the hospital everyday risking their own health to take care of others and it is truly amazing.”

Simpson graduates this month from law school and plans to work in medical malpractice defense after graduation. She said she made the right decision going to law school, though at times it was difficult, “It opens so many doors and there are opportunities for career advancement beyond working at a law firm.” Because of its locale and great reputation, she said Rutgers was the right fit.

Simpson said, “It has been truly amazing seeing everyone come together to fight COVID and I am just thankful that I was able to do my part.”


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