Student Profile: Chernor Bah Put Nursing Experience to Use During COVID-19 Crisis

Posted 2020-07-28 4:02pm

During the second half of spring semester, CSU Cleveland-Marshall College of Law students had to adjust as their worlds were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.  As a registered nurse, CSU C|M|LAW student Chernor Bah was uniquely qualified to help combat the global crisis and travelled domestically and aboard to work as a nurse with the most vulnerable COVID-19 patients in need of critical care in ICUs.

In April, Chernor was deployed to the island nation of Curacao on behalf of the government of the Netherlands to assist in fighting against COVID-19 for two weeks.  He was then deployed to New York City for over a month to work in another ICU with COVID-19 patients.

“What motivated me to deploy to help in the fight against COVID-19 was that I knew that as a medical professional, it was an obligation to put my skills to work,” Chernor said.  “I am an internationalist and I believe that wherever I can, I help.  I was happy to render my services to help my fellow man, whether it was Curacao or New York.”

Even with eight years of domestic and international experience as a nurse, it has been an eye-opening experience for Chernor.  This was the first time he has done this specific type of emergency work, but he previously worked in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for nearly three years as a critical care registered nurse before coming to law school.  He has also volunteered as a nurse in Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“I am extremely proud of the work that we do helping patients at their most vulnerable,” Chernor explained.  “Nurses are among the few that these COVID-19 patients come into contact with.  They are sealed off from their families and the world, sometimes dying without family at the bedside due to the restrictions.  I go home every day with this weighing on my mind.”

Chernor is grateful for the support the CSU Cleveland-Marshall administration offered him as he finished the spring semester while deploying to Curacao.  In the fall of 2018, he came to Cleveland specifically to attend CSU Cleveland-Marshall, where he is President of the International Law Students Association and participates on the C|M|LAW International Law Jessup Moot Court Competition team.  During law school he has also worked as a Post Anesthesia Care Registered Nurse at University Hospitals. 

Chernor grew up partly in Charleston, South Carolina, where he simultaneously completed a Registered Nursing degree and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in International Relations and Political Science at the College of Charleston.  His family is originally from Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia (West Africa).

The rising 3L student knew he wanted to attend law school even before he went to nursing school.  He wants to be engaged in international law, a vision shaped by traveling the world during his youth with his father, who worked for the United Nations.

“I knew I wanted to get involved in the international legal field when my father took my brother and I to Liberia during their Civil War in 1997,” Chernor explained.  “When I saw the utter devastation and the loss of life, I knew I wanted to work in an international legal capacity to help uphold human rights and bring justice to those wronged by war.”

Chernor is already a member of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs and Case Western Reserve’s Yemen Accountability Project, a collaboration to document war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Yemen.  Chernor, who studied abroad in Morocco and Guinea during his undergraduate studies, plans to conduct his last semester of law school abroad as well.  He will be partaking in a legal Internship at the International Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone at the Hague in the Netherlands and as an Executive Master's in International Negotiation and Policy Making at the Graduate Institute of Geneva.

After graduating from CSU C|M|LAW, Chernor hopes to work for a non-governmental international organization such as the United Nations, where he can focus on International law and global health issues.  He also plans to continue operating a legal nursing consultancy he recently founded.

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