by Sam Jacobs
“At the end of the day, what really matters is that the program was able to facilitate us to continue our education,” said Mandy Greer, SMCC nursing student. “We were just one semester away from graduating and they were able to make it happen for us—amidst really hard conditions—while still keeping us safe. I’m really personally quite grateful for it.”
Greer and her classmates will graduate on schedule in December, despite the setbacks, and due in large part to the efforts of the nursing program staff. She discovered that sometimes the slightest shift in how things are viewed can make major differences.
The nursing students had several challenges to overcome. One of the common concerns was stress levels. “If something is not working for me, I try really hard to not get involved in a complaining or negative mentality,” said Greer, who also tries really hard to not compare herself to others because everyone has different strengths and weaknesses within their lives.
Meredith Treat, also a student in the RN programs, says that she has really leaned on her friends and family, and taken the time for herself when she needs to relax and destress. She loves being able to have a support system and have people around her, to distract her from the negativity happening in her mind.
The school did an excellent job of coming up with simulation classes on the computer so that they could fulfill their clinical time, which they have to have to be able to become licensed.
Jessica Dreves, who does clinical placements, had to work very hard to make sure the nursing students not only got placements, but that they were safe and that groups were smaller. With safety measures in place, nursing students are divided into two smaller groups and rotated to different locations throughout the semester, allowing them to do clinicals on campus.
Students listening to a lecture still have to exercise critical thinking, which is difficult to do in a zoom class with forty students. “A really positive thing that has come out of this is that I appreciate my classmates and my instructors,” Greer said, “Everybody is trying, everybody’s showing up. I’ll just never forget this experience. We’re going through this together and not just nursing school but the fear of going to work… We’re all here for each other and helping each other so that’s nice.”
Despite all the challenges, Greer said, “ I think we’re all doing well on exams as far as I know. We do get it. I think it’s really hard for the instructors to have to change their teaching style which is pretty interactive, to now talking on a screen, but we’re doing it.” The nursing program is challenging even without a pandemic. Students can appreciate why they can’t be in person, but not being able to celebrate when they complete their program will be difficult.
Shifting perspective allows a person to take what had every opportunity to be negative and turn it into a positive. “I would just say that our class has been pretty successful getting through the program and that’s because we’ve all been there for each other, really supporting each other,” Treat said. “Your classmates are the people that will help get you through all you have to do is rely on each other.”