Shelton resident recognized as WCSU nursing 'hero'

Shelton resident Melissa Todice has been designated as a hero by the WCSU Alumni Association for her contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shelton resident Melissa Todice has been designated as a hero by the WCSU Alumni Association for her contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Western CT State University / Contributed photo

DANBURY — Western Connecticut State University nursing alumnae Melissa Todice and Elsa Cunha have been designated as heroes by the WCSU Alumni Association for their contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Todice, a Shelton resident, and Cunha of Danbury were nominated by Monica Souza, a WCSU nursing professor.

Todice and Cunha both graduated from WCSU and work as nurses at Danbury Hospital.

“It’s an honor, but it’s an honor that extends past me, to everyone that I work with,” Todice said about her nomination for the award.

“The integrity of the health care providers who I've had the pleasure of working with during the hardest time in our careers has been unbelievable,” Todice added. “The new nurses who started during the most chaotic experience in my eight years of nursing have been nothing short of inspiring. Our work is a vocation — we come to work for our patients, to advocate for them, to heal — but the resiliency of our health care providers makes me proud to be part of this profession.”

Todice works as needed in several units, including Progressive Care and Medical Surgical units, and others. Cunha worked as the ambulatory nurse manager for the outpatient departments of Gynecology/Oncology and Perinatology before moving to the role of team leader for the COVID testing site at Danbury Hospital. Both are being recognized for their tireless work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Todice graduated from the WCSU nursing program in 2012 and has worked as a staff nurse for the past eight years. She recently completed her MSN-FNP from Fairfield University, graduating with a 4.0. Todice said she hopes to specialize as a cardiac APRN in the near future.

As a nurse during the COVID-19 pandemic, Todice said health care professionals are being faced with a set of obstacles they’ve never seen before.

“To work as a nurse with patients with a highly communicable disease that no one knew how to treat was overwhelming to say the very least,” Todice said. “We never took a pandemic nursing class. It was a shift in thinking that we aren't used to as nurses — we had to think about our own safety, and the safety of our families given our line of work.”