Rising to the call…

The past year has been hard.

Here at EMU, we have, along with many other nursing programs around the country, worked constantly to readjust, reschedule and rethink how we can best provide nursing education to our students while living through a global pandemic. One of the many benefits of being a small, close knit program, is that we can change our plans and try new things more quickly and easily.  We have added additional virtual and in-person simulation experiences for students. We have learned to have class online and in-person while remaining distanced and masked.  We have leaned heavily on our strong partnerships with local clinical agencies to provide our students with as many hands-on, in-person clinical hours as possible.  

Senior nursing major Laura Rittenhouse works on an online nursing simulation lab.

We have recognized the incredibly historic moment that we are all living through and provided opportunities for our students to safely be a part of the Covid response.  Students have cared for patients in acute care settings, as they always do, but we have also had students administering Covid-19 tests, helping answer calls through the local health department’s Covid-19 hotline, and this Spring semester, we will be on the front lines of the massive Covid-19 vaccination rollout by giving vaccinations to our community with the local health department.

Nursing students volunteered to answer calls for the VDH hotline.

EMU teaches students to care for patients’ whole selves.  This past year, we worked to apply that approach to our interactions with each other; to care for each others’ whole selves.  Many of our faculty and students have taught and learned while also caring for children or loved ones at home.  We have found new and creative ways to connect with our students through zoom “coffee chats” or outside visits.  Faculty have actively sought out input from students as we make schedule changes that impact them.  We have practiced stress reduction strategies and have taken lots of deep breaths, together.  Grace has been extended in all directions and we have given and received words of encouragement, affirmation and support.  

Nursing students working in the lab during the pandemic.

As I look ahead to this Spring with hope, I am grateful for the work we have done together.  I am proud of the nurses EMU is sending out into the world.  Nurses who believe in science and whose practice is rooted in evidence.  Nurses who recognize the interconnectedness of individual choices, family dynamics and community/public health.  Nurses who understand that we must first care for ourselves if we hope to care for others.

This past year has been hard, but together, nurses can do hard things.

A. Kate Clark DNP RN PHNA-BC

Assistant Professor of Nursing