COSTA MESA, Calif. — Angela Huynh imagined being on the front lines someday as nurse, but did not know that day would come so soon. 

What You Need To Know

  • 360 Clinic, based in Westminster, works with the County of Orange and OCHCA through a private-public partnership

  • There is an on-going nursing shortage in California and nationwide

  • Hospitals closed its doors to nursing students during the pandemic, leaving them with little ways to gain experience

  • 360 Clinic is looking to hire more clinical staff and bring on more nursing students to join its team

“Without a doubt when I first started I was so scared,” said Huynh, a nursing student at Golden West College.

Huynh is an intern-turned medical assistant for 360 Clinic where she is assigned to the provider’s super site at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.

She bounces from one car to the next, testing and answering questions from patients who believe they have contracted the coronavirus.

Huynh enrolled into nursing school when the pandemic began. She said students need hands-on experience working with patients and that is usually done through clinical rotations inside hospitals but they have been closed to nursing students since March of last year.

“We switched everything to virtual. It was definitely a hard adjustment,” said Huynh.

Without these face-to-face interactions, health providers are reluctant to give nursing students like Huynh a job even though there is an on-going nursing shortage happening locally and nationally.

“It’s still a competitive field. Most people think that we can easily get these jobs, but I can say just based on my own experience that I’ve applied 30 plus times since September and I maybe got one interview," said Huynh.

360 Clinic collaborated with the Orange County Health Care Agency to run two drive-through super sites and walk-up testing kiosks across the county. By the second quarter of this year, 360 Clinic plans to have dozens more of its walk-up testing kiosks up and running. In order to keep up with the demand for testing, 360 Clinic has also hired other clinical positions.

Yao Wang joined the team as a physician assistant.

“We’ve had hundreds of nursing students doing training here,” said Wang. 

Besides her duty as a physician assistant, Wang also helps mentor students like Huynh.

“We’ve been hiring a lot of new employees. We can also feel the shortage of all medical workers,” said Wang.

360 Clinic expects to expand its training ground for at least 200 more nursing students and jobs to healthcare professionals.

Huynh hopes to continue with 360 Clinic as a medical assistant. She is also looking forward to when the provider can begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine since it received the county’s approval to help with Phase 2.

“I just think that if I could be part of that historical moment, what an amazing feat. I wouldn’t have been able to anticipate this even happening to me,” said Huynh.

Being a part of this new wave of nurses require flexibility and compassion. Situations change every day, but Huynh said she would not want to be anywhere else, but here on the front line.

Visit the 360 Clinic careers website to explore the positions it is looking to fill.