As our state, nation, and world look to the unsung heroes in the healthcare field who are flocking to local hospitals, Louisiana State University of Alexandria nursing students are transitioning from clinical experiences in the hospital to virtual simulation.
For two senior level nursing students who will graduate in May, the change has been bittersweet.
“We know the priority shifted to our safety and ensuring we graduate, but it is disappointing,” said Alexandra Sheffield, an Alexandria native and former Alexandria Senior High attendee. “You see the struggles of the healthcare workforce surrounding the coronavirus, and you want to help. It has, at least, solidified my passion for nursing and confirmed that I made the right decision to enroll in LSUA’s Department of Nursing.”
Sheffield’s path to nursing school was not a straight one. She previously earned a criminal justice degree from LSUA and entered Loyola Law School. During her first year there, she attended a symposium regarding healthcare law where a registered nurse was speaking. It was at that moment; she knew that was her calling.
“I was not looking forward to making the call to my parents to tell them I was leaving school to start nursing school, but it was well worth it,” Sheffield said.
Today, Sheffield waits patiently to finish her clinicals and curriculum so she can join her fellow nursing professionals on the front line. “Even though we have been pulled out of the hospitals and will finish the clinical experience in the virtual simulators, I still feel ready to begin my career. We have already had so much time in the hospitals and our professors have prepared us so well, that I don’t think the shift to online will hinder our learning at all,” she said.
Pineville native and mother of two, Lana Magee, echoed Alexandra’s sentiments.
“I feel 100 percent ready to care for patients,” Lana said. “I miss face-to-face because of the hands-on atmosphere, but our professors have done a fantastic job easing us through the transition.”
With all classes moving to the video conference format, both students expected it to be harder to learn; however, they have been pleasantly surprised.
“Professors will stay on the conference as long as we need to make sure we understand, or even video conference us one-on-one for further explanation,” Lana continued. “I have never felt overwhelmed, and knowing the amount of work the professors are putting in, helps me to want to rise to the challenge just as they have.”
Both students are anxious to graduate and enter the healthcare workforce of Central Louisiana hospitals.