Engaged Learning

Meet Your Professor: Erica Hooper-Arana

Part of a summer series on getting to know teachers at USF

by Mary McInerney, USF News

Adjunct professor of nursing and founding faculty adviser for the Black Nursing Students Association, Erica Hooper-Arana, talks about work as play, church as celebration, and the need for nurses to care for themselves, too.

Tell us about your work.

For me, work is play. I have made a commitment to myself to love what I do and to do what I love. The work I do allows me to carry out my personal mission in life of fulfilling God’s purpose by serving others in their healing and transformative processes to achieve their greatest potential. I have taught at the USF School and Nursing and Health Professions for the last 15 years and enjoy helping students reach their goal of joining the nursing profession “to care for the world from here.” Currently I teach part-time as adjunct faculty and I work full-time for Kaiser Permanente as a regional program manager with the Scholars Academy, helping to support academic relations and community health. I also work as an advocate for improving the juvenile justice system and as a holistic nursing practitioner.

What does your average weekend look like?

An average weekend is often devoted to my three beautiful children who always enjoy a good adventure at the beach, a hike in the woods, or doing something fun like miniature golfing. When not doing an activity with the kids, I enjoy good times with friends and family or engaging in some “me time” and recharging my battery by spending time in nature or doing some kind of creative or spiritual practice.

What's something that surprises people about nursing as a major?

I think what may surprise people as a nursing major is what surprised me. Becoming a nurse is not only about learning how to care for others. In order to best care for others, nurses must discover how to care for themselves. Nursing school is as much about personal development and becoming our best selves as it is about professional development to help others to be their best selves.

Favorite place in San Francisco?

Glide Memorial Church. It is a place I discovered as an undergraduate student at USF, and I often go there to serve and celebrate. I enjoy how the church brings people together from all walks of life to be in a supportive and loving community right on the streets of the most vulnerable neighborhood known as the Tenderloin. There is much hope and healing to be found there.

What's your best tip for students with online learning?

Stay flexible and engaged at all times. It is important for faculty to be responsive to the students in a timely manner and to adjust their teaching strategies as needed. I feel what helps me the most is keeping a pulse on the students’ learning needs while ensuring my teaching strategies are aligned.

What are the "aha" moments for nursing majors?

Some of the “aha” moments for nursing students are found in the caring moments spent with others in their times of greatest vulnerability. In these caring moments, students find that a loving touch, warm embrace, physical presence, or authentic listening are of more value to the healing process than any medication, injection, or other nursing procedure or skill. Nursing students learn that they are the healing environment for others by their presence alone and how they show up ready to serve with the utmost care and compassion.

Favorite app on your phone?

My favorite app on my phone is rain sounds or meditation music, which I use to unwind from the day or while I do yoga and meditation.

Comfort food?

Something warm and sweet like pancakes or chocolate cake.

Any advice for incoming students?

My advice for incoming students is to get the most out of their USF experience by not only participating in classes, but also in leadership, extracurricular, and volunteer activities that allow them to grow personally to become their best selves.

Connect with Professor Hooper-Arana at edhooperarana@usfca.edu.