BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — There are unprecedented challenges in this pandemic, but for those front-line workers the situation still requires them to pull from the experience they do have in handling crises.

Johann Brunner is a professor at Cal Southern University, an online school based in Costa Mesa. She's been a nurse for 40 years, and today she's teaching the future nurse leaders how to respond to the crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“You go into this sort of ‘never never zone’ in your head that protects you from the horror of what’s happening just so that you can keep functioning and do what you need to do to be helpful,” Brunner said.

Brunner has been teaching her entire career, but her biggest lesson came on the morning of 9/11 when she was an emergency room nurse in New York. The thought of being on the front lines of such a tragedy is hard to imagine, but what took place might have been even more tragic - first responders hobbling to her from miles away and no civilians to treat because many of them had died on the scene.

But the parallel of these two situations is one that gives her strength. Today's fight is not different, according to Brunner. She's sharing her knowledge and wisdom in the hope that it will help her students and their patients stay strong.

“Maybe there’ll be a setback. Maybe we’ll fall down a few times and there’ll be more jumps and maybe we’ll fall down again. Ultimately though, we’re persistent and we’re focused and we’ve got our minds made up that we’re going to kick this thing, we’re going to beat it,” Brunner said.