Students struggling to finish clinicals amid COVID-19 pandemic

Education

WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Nurses are crucial in these times, but how are colleges making sure their nursing students are ready to graduate when most clinical opportuities are few and far between?

Wheeling University found themselves lucky this semester. Often, nursing students start their clinicals a few weeks into the spring semester due to weather.
But this year, the weather held off and they were able to jump into clinicals at the start of the semester.

Students were able to complete 70 percent of their clinicals in person, and the rest through simulations and case studies. As for Nurse practitioner students, their curriculum is built for over 700 hours of clinicals, but they only need 500. So fortunately, they were also able to complete their requirements.

But Physical therapy students may not be so lucky. They don’t graduate until December, and summer is a critical time for clinicals So, they’ve had to push back dates, plan ahead, and hope for a good outcome.

I think we have great partnerships with all of our community partners. They’ve had great clinical experiences thus far. So, I think even though we had to cu down a little at the end, it hasn’t made any effect at all on what they’re going to be able to do when they go out there.

Dr. Maryanne Capp – Chair of Dept. of nursing, Wheeling University

We do have a lot of clinical partners that are working with full-time caseloads right now. They’re extremely aware of what the graduating students are facing if they cant get into the clinics– such as delayed graduations. We have tremendous clinical partners that are working with us very diligently to try to make sure that clinical placements happen as they’ve been assigned, or to the best of their abilities.

Rhonda Haley – Dir. of clinical education, physical therapy, Wheeling University

Both professors say no one knows what the future holds, and they’ll roll with the punches as they come. They wanted to thank their students for their continued understanding of the situation they’re facing.

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