We asked nursing students and professors what it’s like going to school during COVID

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Being a student during a global pandemic is hard. Trying to get your clinical hours in a hospital so you can graduate from nursing school adds its own particular challenges. We spoke with Santa Ana College nursing students Joshua Machacon, Ashley Pimienta and Courtney Diyarbakir — plus their professor Dale Mixer — what it’s like studying and teaching people to enter a field that’s more in-demand than ever.

Question for students: How is it being online from being face to face? How is life at home with school and work?

Joshua: I think the hardest part about this is not being hands on and not being able to interact with patients and not being able to go to our skills labs. There was a practice that helped us stay calm and smile, the hardest part for me is that I am a very hands on person that’s why I went to nursing too. Online has been both easy and harder, I have had experience with online classes before but I got used to being face to face. There are some positives to just being online that being not having to drive and all these other things that take up time. In terms of learning I prefer being a classroom and in the environment listening to the lecture and see it in a face to face manor rather than a screen because I have so much more things to distract me. I like being in the classroom gives me the mind set while at home I just wanna chill and relax. The way our program sets it up is that we have non direct patient care called televisits or known as telehealth

Courtney: Its a lot different I am in my last semester so the education like the lecture part isn’t that bad because we can sit from home and we have more access to the lectures because they record them. The clinical portion is the hardest part because in our last semester we do something called the pre-septer step where we can be a lot more independent in our role as a student nurse. And since the hospitals wont accept students right now due lack of protective equipment and wanting to keep their concerns on the sickly so they don’t run out. That is the biggest issue for us because we cannot get that independent access where we start as a new grad, and also we look forward to something called the pinning ceremony that is a big thing we look forward to and we send money towards for 2 years and it has been pushed back if not cancelled. So that has been the hardest part about the semester the lecture part is fine, i feel like it hasn’t changed much. For clinical hours the thing we do is called telehealth which is like an online hospital service for wellness check and we do assessments on nursing students family or friends. We do covid screenings over the phone and we can do some partial education for them on how to take their physical assessment on that stuff.

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Ashley: We still have our zoom class meetings every week. In order to fill our hours in the board of registered nursing were having to do a lot of simulation a lot of online certificate and telehealth and checking on patients over the phone I was going to graduate this year with my friends at the ceremony but now its postponned until fall. I never do well with online classes and i struggle to give my full attention to the screen. At home I have two little ones and I am a single mom so now I am not only trying to stay up with my classwork online now I am a teacher for my 2nd grade sons. So there has been a lot of change and adaptation.

Questions for Nursing Professor Dale Mixer

Is keeping in contact with students an issue?

No, contact not changed gotten better instead of once a week, now we check up on them almost everyday

When will students be able to get back into hospitals?

Until the pandemic reaches its peak and stabilizes then the students will have a better chance of going back to the hospitals. The hospitals don’t want to take away the learning process for the students however the primary concern is for the sick people. So they must put aside the clinical hours for the nursing students in college. The use of equipment and services must be put forth towards the patients with full care and caution.

How are is the dept. dealing with waiving the clinical time for the students? If it’s being removed, how are they making sure the students have the knowledge necessary to safely treat patients?

We are working within guidelines and with the bump up of simulation courses from 25%-50% is a big increase, this will allow more freedom for professors to work with students in the simulation of course it is just simulation preferably we would like to have the hours of face to face care. Really looking at health care outside of the box. There are options for students to take to keep up with clinical hours, one of them is to volunteer at the governor’s health core which will be counted as their hours for clinical. What the nursing department doesn’t want to do is graduate the students who don’t know how to do patient care, we want our nursing students to be prepared in all areas of nursing care.

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