“We were really in a good place because our students are really strong, because it’s such a competitive program to get into,” Williams said. “Our students have been kind of front-loading and getting a ton of hours because they’re overachievers. They’re really just dynamic students, and they enjoy what they’re doing.”
Williams said that students are doing in-depth patient case studies to complete the remaining hours of clinicals. She said that case studies are a typical part of the nursing school curriculum, so students are used to this style of learning from their classes.
“We’ve just been able to take a deeper dive into the case studies and make them much more rich and much more in depth than we can do sometimes in an in-classroom experience,” Williams said.
Carrie Palmer, associate professor in the School of Nursing, said nurse practitioner students who planned to graduate this semester have also completed enough of their required 500 direct care hours to sit for their final exam.
“We are more concerned about our students who still have a year left in their program, and our plan is that they will all also achieve at least 500 clinical hours, so they can sit for their certification exam,” Palmer said. “We’re going to prioritize those who got less than 80 clinical hours in this spring semester when they would have gotten 120, so that we can make sure those students will have as much of a chance to graduate on time as possible.”
Jennifer Hower, a junior Bachelor of Science Nursing student, said the school has a plan for its juniors to complete some of their coursework and clinical hours over the summer.
“They’re hoping we’re going to be in the hospital in July — that’s what they keep saying,” Hower said.
Hower said this wouldn’t be a disruption, as the summer between junior and senior year is a semester that nursing school students spend on campus anyway.
Despite the transition to online learning and the lack of certainty about the upcoming semesters, Hower said she is not worried about learning everything she’ll need to know for the NCLEX exam — the licensure exam that students take at the end of the program to become a registered nurse.
“I’m sad that I can’t practice in real life with my hands, which I feel like I can’t make up for, but you only have so much clinical in nursing school anyways,” Hower said. “And you learn so much in your first job that I’m not worried about being behind or anything. They do a really good job of listening to us and taking our feedback, so I’m not worried about not learning enough.”