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  • By Megan Wallace

“Worn out and Overworked”: How COVID-19 is affecting nursing students at Coastal

Coastal Carolina nursing students have been working on the frontline alongside health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Maile Blumberger, junior nursing major, said COVID-19 has drastically changed the way nursing students are able to learn in hospitals.

“In the beginning, there was kinda no restrictions on what patients we could have,” Blumberger said. “If there was something new or interesting they would kinda just throw us in that room so we would get to learn.”

Blumberger also said the time away from hands-on learning somewhat stunted their progress by not being able to see procedures firsthand. It impacted the quality of learning more than any other major. Associate Professor of Nursing, Susan Montenery said the nursing student's institution has been impacted and stretched thin in every way because they are worn out and overworked.

Pictured left to right are students in the CCU nursing program: Meghna Patel, Sharmila Katuwal, Jeong Eun Oh, Jenifer Roberts, Davey Schneck, Abbel Carranza, Kathleen Russell, Rita Tahan. Photo courtesy of Kobe Robinson.

“There are very few [students] that are not working full time so they are balancing going to school full-time and working full-time and then the added stressors of being at work in the environments that they’ve been enduring for nearly two years now,” Dr. Montenery said.

Although many, if not all, Americans have been affected by COVID-19, the toll on health care workers such as nurses can be more than the typical person. Dr. Montenery said the tragedy of death they are witnessing on a daily basis is more than most would endure in a lifetime.

Jenifer Roberts, a local school nurse said the reason people stay in this mentally and physically draining profession is because of the connections made with the patients.

“What keeps me going are my children at school,” Roberts said. “I don't get paid as much as I’m worth but my love is coming and seeing those children.”

The dedication and selflessness found in nurses are proven to be unwavering even during the hardships of a pandemic.

Coastal Carolina University offers non-traditional nursing programs, one of them is the RN-to-BSN pathway which offers previously registered nurses an opportunity to come back to school and receive their bachelor's degree. Another program, specifically for incoming freshmen, is the 2+2 program which is receiving two different degrees in four years. Students in this program will live on Coastal’s campus while taking classes at HGTC and earning their associate's degree. After those two years, they will come back and finish their bachelor's degree by taking classes at Coastal.

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