Angela Newell, Senior

Angela Newell

Angela Newell

There was uncertainty as we transitioned from face to face learning to online learning, especially due to the fact that the nursing major relies heavily on in person contact through patient care, peer collaboration, and clinical simulations. I was concerned that I would not get the experiences I needed to be successful as a nurse.

What I have found to be the most beneficial to me during my time at LCON has been the peer support. The nursing curriculum is demanding and hard. If it wasn’t for the support from other students, it would be much more difficult. When it is tough, we are there for each other. Not being in the classroom setting with them was the hardest part as we transitioned to online. Social distancing from the very people I needed was tough. Of course, we had ways to communicate, but it just simply isn’t the same as in person interactions.

Quite honestly, I felt that some of the assignments we were given, in the beginning, were busy work. I feel that as we settled into our new reality, the professors really came up with assignments that were more challenging. For example, we were given a case study on a “virtual” patient. The professor gave us just what we needed to know to formulate a care plan. We had to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I remember that assignment clearly, because I remember having to think more critically to get it done. It felt good to be challenged again.

I have never been a fan of online classes. I have not been one in the past to register for them if I could avoid it. Some people prefer them; however, they are not my preference. I am comfortable with online instruction, but I feel that for me I get more out of face to face learning. The simple fact that there are distractions at home makes a difference for me.

I am happy to say that I had a successful semester as far as my grades. I did miss out on clinical experiences in the hospital and that was very difficult for me. Clinical experience helps to guide you on making important decisions about what nursing field you want to pursue.

I feel that the staff did everything possible to help us be successful in learning the material. Although the virtual simulations are beneficial in helping me learn, there is nothing like having those experiences in the hospital. I would say they were beneficial and sufficient, but nothing can replace being at the hospital with real patients. In the hospital, there is no way to know what is going to happen. Experiencing those unexpected situations is an amazing opportunity to learn.

(For the fall) I was relieved to find that our faculty and staff had put together a hybrid model in which we do have the ability, using safety protocols, to participate in simulation at the Community Health Building. Although the groups are smaller and we are safely distanced, it’s nice to be back with other students. Our clinical time in the hospital is limited but I am so grateful for that time and make the most of every minute I am there.

I would like nothing more than for things to go back to normal. For the world to be like it was before this pandemic started. I miss concerts, large family gatherings, and FOOTBALL!! There is nothing like seeing the Liberty Bowl packed and cheering our Tigers on! Unfortunately, that is not the reality right now. I care more about the safety of those around me.

I feel that our faculty and staff have done an amazing job in providing a curriculum that allows us to get the most out of the nursing program during this time. They have gone to great lengths to ensure social distancing, hand hygiene and mask wearing. I do feel safer with these protocols in place.

The amount of time we spend in the clinical site has greatly reduced. However, I am grateful to be able to go. We wear protective gear, follow hospital protocols, and of course there are areas of the hospital that we do not go to for safety reasons.

I feel that being in nursing school during the pandemic has given me a different level of experience. In second semester, we learned about public health crises, pandemics and what that could entail. Reading about it in books is very different than living during one. I have seen first-hand what it is like not only in day to day living, but the changes that have taken place in hospitals as well.

Our instructors assigned a case study on COVID-19. Although there is so much more to learn about this disease process, we were able to navigate through what many of these patient’s experience and how to care for them. I felt this to be a great learning experience.

The pandemic has posed challenges for everyone. There are differing opinions on what levels we should take to protect one another. It is important for me to say that COVID-19 is very real and it’s vital that we all take precautions for public safety. Although we have experienced changes, I have the privilege to work with and learn from heroes. They inspire me every day to want to be the best nurse I can possibly be.