By ARINE GARIN
The COVID-19 pandemic has left local hospitals over capacity and has put Amarillo College nursing students on the front lines. The nursing students must complete hands-on patient-care training in the hospitals, called clinicals.
Denise Ruiz, a nursing student, said that every precaution has been taken to keep students safe during clinical. “I felt at first anxious and nervous about everything going on, but the instructors and the facility ensured that I was safe throughout the entire clinical period as they took safety precautions and followed the protocols along with the hospital policies,” Ruiz said.
Jan Cannon, a nursing professor, said that the pandemic has created new obstacles this semester. “It was definitely challenging due to the increase of COVID patients at the hospital. It was a struggle finding a clinical unit to get all our students through in order to get them the required clinical hours,” she said.
Despite these difficulties, Cannon said going through clincals during the pandemic gave students a valuable learning experience. “I think the students will take what they learned from the pandemic and the toll it has taken on the healthcare system, patients, and families as a lesson to be more responsive to the needs and feelings of their coworkers and their patients.”
DeAnne Sisco, a clinical nursing instructor, praised the students for their flexibility. “I see in the group of students that we took to clinical more resilience and more flexibility than probably any other group we’ve ever had,” Sisco said. “We’re constantly having to change units, having to shift faculty around, but the students are coming out on top just because of endurance, resilience, and flexibility. I don’t think we’ll turn out another group of nursing students ever to have more of those characteristics.”
Sisco said she is proud of the way her students overcame the challenges of going through clincals during the COVID-19 crisis. “To see students learning to be the best nurses they can be has just been moving and inspirational. My students have inspired me,” she said.
Nataley Carrington, a nursing student, said, as a newcomer to the healthcare field, participating in clinicals, even during a pandemic, was a good experience. “I felt that I acquired a variety of knowledge in my journey into becoming a nurse,” she said.