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Nursing students adjust to training during a pandemic

The medical field is changing, and that includes nursing school. Nursing students have to make serious changes to the way they learn, mostly consisting of online classes. But while many students across the U.S. are experiencing online classes, it’s especially important for our future nurses to get hands-on experience.

At Florida Gulf Coast University, all classes are online except for simulation and labs, because that experience is still required in order to graduate and work during the pandemic.  While it’s challenging, one student says he hopes these challenges inspire others to take on the profession.

“I believe nurses right now are showing great resilience and showing that challenges may be thrown our way, but we can overcome them,” said David Reyes-Marqutti.

And he is doing just that. Reyes-Marqutti says he’s starting his job as a nurse in the coming weeks, and that he’s excited to get started on the frontlines.

But the hands-on experience is not what it used to be. There are stricter protocols to follow while inside the labs. Kelly Goebel, director of FGCU’s undergraduate nursing program, has been a nurse for 30 years. She says the pandemic has been challenging inside and outside of the classroom, but her experience has helped her better prepare her students for what’s to come.

“It was very new to us, but I do think nurses as a whole are very adaptable, and we learned very quickly how to manage the pandemic and how to support each other and use the information on how to treat the patients,” Goebel said. “And that has been helpful to me on how to relay the information to the students on what it’s really like.”

And the students are able to get an idea of what those real life situations are like during their simulations at FGCU. Goebel says the need for nurses is still at an all-time high and hopes the pandemic serves as a call to action that gets the students and others passionate about their work.

For the spring semester, FGCU’s nursing classes will remain virtual despite the in-person labs and simulations. The university hasn’t decided if it will return to holding in-person class this summer.

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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