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Nursing majors transition from eight hours of clinicals to four hours online

This is the second part of an ongoing story on the transition to online learning.

Nursing majors are required to complete over 200 clinical hours before they graduate. Due to COVID-19, the program transitioned from hands-on learning to at-home Zoom classes with the rest of USD. 

Under normal circumstances, nursing majors complete eight hours of clinicals per week. Now they are meeting for four intensified hours of clinicals over Zoom each week. 

Amanda Gravholt, a junior nursing major, said she expected classes to be moved online, but was worried about how the nursing program would transfer to online classes. 

Amanda Gravholt is a junior nursing major. Submitted photo.

“I was mainly concerned about missing out on clinical experience which allows for hands-on learning,” Gravholt said in an email interview with The Volante. “But I wasn’t too surprised when we moved to online classes as many other universities in the area had already made the decision. Going into healthcare, I understand public health must come first.”

Having clinicals online, Gravholt said, has challenges, but professors have helped ease the transition to online learning. 

“It’s difficult to not have that hands-on experience to practice skills like starting IVs or administering medications,” Gravholt said. “I am also grateful for the work that the nursing faculty has put forth to ensure we do not, in fact, get behind in our learning.” 

The nursing program already utilized online learning programs prior to COVID-19. Meredith Ellis, a junior nursing major, said she’s grateful she had the prior experience with online quizzes to help make the transition easier. 

Meredith Ellis is a junior nursing student. Submitted photo.

Ellis said moving clinicals online helps showcase the versatility of skills she and her classmates have. 

“I think this is truly showing … how flexible we need to be because not every day is going to be the same. There will always be bumps in the road and this is just one of them. We will come out stronger because of this,” Ellis said. “It is different, but we will all get used to it and it will become ‘normal.’” 

Studying in the medical field makes it easy to know moving classes online was the right decision, Kaitlyn Laney, a junior nursing major said. 

“Everyone needs to do their part to stay home and slow the spread of the virus, especially since we would have been coming back from Spring Break,” Laney said in an email interview with The Volante. “Many students had traveled to many different places over break making the spread of COVID-19 more of a risk.” 

While she was excited about the change, Laney said she prepared herself by accepting the new reality. 

“I have had a roller coaster of feelings about it. When it was first declared a pandemic and places started closing, I was a lot more worried,” Laney said. “(But I know) it is all out of my control, so there is no point being worried or upset about it, and I’ll just have to deal with things as they come up.” 

All three said they are grateful for their professors for providing the most up to date communication on what is happening. 

Ellis said their professors made the transition smooth and helped lessen the stress around the situation. 

“Our professors are doing great at moving online, while I know this is challenging for them, they have made the transition great,” Ellis said. “I am proud to have the professors I do because I can tell just how much they care for each and every one of us by how they are handling this situation.” 

Gravholt said the transition to online learning has been difficult because of the lack of socialization with her classmates. 

However, she said she doesn’t mind getting to attend class from the comfort of her living room. 

“I do miss collaborative learning that comes along with in-person classes, but I think there are great resources we are utilizing to overcome these barriers and making the best of the situation at hand,” Gravholt said. 

This is a multiple part story. The Volante would like to feature a variety of majors who will be facing challenges as cases get moved online. If you have a suggestion on a major or would like to be featured please email The Volante at [email protected]