Nebraska nursing students gain valuable clinical experience during pandemic

The next generation of nursing students will be equipped with skills that most never expected they would need - skills to deal with a pandemic.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – It’s safe to say that most students heading into nursing school in 2019 and 2020 weren’t expecting to be learning in the middle of a pandemic. Nevertheless, that’s where they found themselves starting last spring.

“It’s been a huge learning experience for everyone involved,” says senior nursing student Jenn Will.

Will, a student at Creighton University, says being a student during the last year has taught her and her classmates how to be flexible and adaptable.

“I mean all of us have during this time but I think it’s especially important in the world of nursing because we’re constantly doing that with our patients and what we see,” Will says.

In nursing school, a core component to education is gaining clinical experience, being supervised in real-world health care environments to put their classroom education into practice.

“At first we weren’t allowed to go to clinical at all,” Will says. “Then they allowed us to go to clinical but we weren’t allowed to take care of COVID–19 patients and that was to conserve PPE.”

As a better understanding of the virus was developed, and more PPE – personal protective equipment –  became available, Will says that’s when valuable clinical and learning experiences came into play for her.

“Creighton has helped supply us with N-95 [masks] so that we’re all able to care for COVID-19 patients as we’re starting this semester which is huge especially as a senior because, in a few short months, we’re going to be going out there and actually caring for these patients.”

As students now begin to help with the vaccination process, Will says seeing how much has changed in the past year has been unforgettable. She says it’s an honor to gain experience while also helping community members and being part of history.

“Now that we are getting that vaccine going and being able to be a part of that, and one of the first people to get one, I just feel very blessed and I think it’s a huge step in protecting yourself and the community.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Lancaster, Nebraska News, Top Stories