Nursing students at Missouri Western have adapted to changes in education, and graduating seniors are preparing to join the front lines.
Cristi Campbell, a nursing professor and a nurse practitioner at Cameron Regional Hospital family health clinic, said nurses are always adapting and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different.
“Nursing is ever evolving, so that’s really kind of status quo for us,” Campbell said.
Missouri Western Associate Nursing Professor Heather Kendall said there have been changes to clinicals for nursing students as they have had to transition into doing simulations while they are not allowed in hospitals or in class at the university.
“The really challenging part is making up for lost clinical experiences because students have not been able to continue those experiences for safety reasons,” Kendall said.
Kendall said it will be challenging for graduating seniors as testing locations for nursing licensure have been closed due to the pandemic. The Missouri Nursing Board has extended the time a student can be a graduate nurse and practice without passing the test. The time frame is usually 90 days, but it has been extended to 180 days.
Both Kendall and Campbell said they believe that nursing students are ready for the front lines as most of the seniors already have been caretaking in some fashion leading up to the pandemic.
“They’re ready for this,” Kendall said. “They’ve been educated for this, they’ve been training for this for a long time, and they’re ready to join the front lines and they’re prepared.”
Kendall said the students went into nursing to help people, and they want to join in efforts to offer assistance.
Campbell said that the although students are learning through simulations now, they plan to make up for lost opportunities with hands-on learning in the fall.
“I would say every nursing program is looking at creative ways to still make sure that our students get the experiences that they need,” Campbell said.