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Nursing students press on during pandemic

October 7, 2020

Nandini Patel came to NIU School of Nursing to gain real-world experience that would prepare her for a successful career in nursing. Being a student during a pandemic doesn’t change that.

“As nurses we will soon be in the trenches so to speak, with COVID-19 and other diseases,” Patel said. “The more hands-on learning we have, the better nurses we will be when we graduate.”

Kari Hickey, director of NIU School of Nursing undergraduate program, said the school is committed to providing experiential learning opportunities during COVID-19 and has mitigation measures in place to do so.

Nursing students screen students entering school at St. Mary’s School in Sycamore. 

“We’re balancing safety with a commitment to experiential learning that just can’t be eliminated for our students,” Hickey said.

Mitigation measures include things like reducing clinical course sizes and providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to nursing students. In addition, some courses have been adapted, like Population Focused Nursing (NURS 443).

Nursing students provide information in the form of a bingo game while at Carpenter’s Place in Rockford.

Population Focused Nursing is a course that normally places students in community settings to both learn and provide health care information and services to regional residents. This semester, nursing students from the course went to St. Mary’s School in Sycamore to screen children as they arrived at school and to discuss how to deal with the stress of the pandemic. Another group of nursing students went to Carpenter’s Place, a homeless day center in Rockford, where they provided health and wellness information in the form of a bingo game.

“This is the next generation of nurses,” Hickey said. “At NIU, we are committed to ensuring they have the knowledge and experiences to become leaders in delivering safe and effective nursing care to diverse populations.”

Go to NIU School of Nursing to learn more.