• 05 November 2020
  • 12 min read

How The Pandemic Has Changed Student Nursing

  • Alexandria Grace
    Student Nurse
    • R Yasmeen
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Precious Foli-Arthur
    • Julia Orege
    • Richard Gill
  • 2
  • 727
Play video: "I think it also makes it more important for you to look after yourself and to look out for other people, because change is daunting."

Student Nurse, Alexandria, offers an insight into how Student Nursing has been impacted by the Pandemic, and outlines the new changes and rules that Student Nurses have had to adapt to.

Topics covered in this article

0.07 Introduction

0.54 Student Nursing Before The Pandemic

1.54 Everything Stopped During My First Placement

2.34 How The Placements Changed

3.23 The Lecturers Had To Think On Their Feet

4.24 Online Lectures & Zoom Meetings

6.22 The Placements Are Very Different Now

7.37 Small Group Sizes & COVID Regulations

8.33 Virtual Elective Placements?

9.52 The ‘Student Lifestyle’ Is Now Very Different

10.48 Look After Yourselves & Each Other

0.07 Introduction

Hi guys, welcome back to my channel.

If you don't already know, I am Alex.

I am a second-year children's nursing student and I'm currently on placement in the children's emergency department.

As you can tell by the title, it's all about how the pandemic has changed Student Nursing, what is not happening anymore, what's changed, what is happening.

0.54 Student Nursing Before The Pandemic

Initially, obviously when I was in first year, the course looked pretty linear.

It was 50/50 with theory and placement.

You learn a lot of basic skills before we actually went out into clinical practice, just to make sure we knew what we were doing and that we had a good introduction to Children's Nursing as a whole, both the care side and the theoretical side.

First year was going really, really smoothly.

We were able to actually enjoy the social side as well.

You could go clubbing, you could go to social events and meet people.

You could chat to people around the uni and in the library, wherever.

And obviously, you're going into lectures with the whole cohort or whoever was in the lecture

And that will be filled with quite a lot of people.

Sometimes you would have a whole day of lectures or a whole morning.

I would have one clinical day a week, which was the only full day in my timetable, which was where we were in the labs using all the equipment and practicing clinical skills.

So that's what it looked like.

1.54 Everything Stopped During My First Placement

I would go to uni maybe three, four days a week, and then have that one Thursday every week.

For my clinical sessions, that was what my routine looked like.

Then when I went on placement, obviously that would all stop.

Uni was put on hold and then I went to the hospital to do my placement.

I was on my first full placement in March.

I did six weeks on a general paeds ward.

Then right towards the end of that six weeks, I went back to uni for one day and then they said, "Don't come back."

The week after we went into lockdown, so it was all a bit like, "Whoa, what's happening?".

Because obviously, we still had exams coming up in the May.

2.34 How The Placements Changed

We had another placement coming up in June where we were supposed to do five weeks in hospital and one week in a school.

So obviously, that got cancelled, because it was only second years and third years that it could opt-in to carry on doing their placements and get band four salary.

We were at home doing online work, doing online exams.

None of my exams got cancelled except the one clinical skills exam or the OSCE obviously, because that's a face-to-face exam where you're doing skills in front of the examiner.

So that clearly got cancelled, but they made an online version of it.

I had assignment exams to do and multiple-choice online exams to do instead, which were what determined whether you went into first year or not.

We'd missed a lot of placement hours, because that placement got cancelled in June.

3.23 The Lecturers Had To Think On Their Feet

Everything was just all over the place, having Zoom lectures and all this.

Our term finishes in, every year finishes in mid-July.

That time where we were supposed to be in placement, we had nothing to do.

So they moved our pharmacology module from second year into first year to fill up the space.

It was just all a bit of a mess, to be honest.

Everyone was exhausted, the lecturers and stuff, had to work on their feet and think, "Okay, how are we going to fill the time? How are they going to make up for their hours? How are we going to make sure that they don't miss out on good quality training?".

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They did amazingly.

They were so good with communicating what was going on.

They were really good on checking in on us.

Every week we would have a Zoom call and they would ask us if we had any questions, they would ask how we were doing mentally, emotionally and physically as well, asking if anyone had gotten ill with the virus.

But yeah, it was a really, really strange time.

4.24 Online Lectures & Zoom Meetings

Then obviously, we had the summer break, just having lectures uploaded online that you can just do in your own time.

Obviously, they've got a schedule for us, but unless it's a live, I say live lecture, we can just do it in our own time.

It's just uploaded online.

As long as we do it, it's done.

It was really strange adjusting to being in a lecture hall full of over a hundred people and having a lecture face-to-face with a big screen and sitting in the hall and then to sitting in my bedroom, on my desk with my computer in a Zoom meeting or a teams meeting.

It's just so strange.

I feel really sorry for first years now, because obviously you guys don't know what that experience was like before COVID, before all of this madness.

So I think probably, that's the biggest thing that's changed.

However, having that transition from normal lectures to online lectures, which is not worth the £9,250 at all, my uni are doing amazingly, but it's just online uni. Online uni, it's just not the same, it's not worth paying all that money for.

I think the government neglected students really, really badly.

So none of it is the university's fault, my lecturers have done absolutely amazing, but the government, they have some explaining to do, because...

Another thing that's changed, I guess, is the placement situation.

I'm in placement now.

I missed a lot of hours from the summer, which I have been able to make up some of them, on specific online work that was set just before I went on placement to aid my learning or my practical learning, which gave me an extra 75 hours to add onto my clinical hours, which is going to help.

And they're going to give us another opportunity to get another 75 hours through online work in third year, which is going to help so much.

6.22 The Placements Are Very Different Now

We're still going to have the same amount of theory and practical time this year but obviously it's very different.

Coming into a hospital, everyone's in different parts of the hospital.

Everyone's on different wards and things, where some areas are more at risk of having COVID breakouts.

Some people were even on COVID wards, some people in places with lower risks, and it's very different being on placement now, because before obviously, we would wear PPE and different levels of PPE depending on the type of patient you're dealing with.

But you wouldn't have to wear a mask to go and see any patient.

You wouldn't have to wear gloves constantly, unless you were doing something where you needed to wear gloves.

I don't know, like if you were going to take a canula out or something.

Not being able to smile at patients, I find so hard, especially because I'm doing Children's Nursing.

I find it so difficult when I'm trying to get them to like open their mouth to take their temperature or to just smile at them just to be nice or to be reassuring.

You can't even smile with the mask on.

And that is so annoying.

Wearing a mask for 12 hours is not very nice, but protection is key.

Obviously the social side of uni has changed a lot, you can't go into uni and chill.

You obviously can't really go out like that or in big groups of people.

7.37 Small Group Sizes & COVID Regulations

With my clinical skills module so far in second year, I've had one clinical session and the groups are so tiny.

The session instead of being the whole day, it's only two hours now.

We're all distanced.

Everything is cleaned, once one person uses a mannequin, for example, then the teachers clean it down for the next person to use.

We're constantly washing our hands, obviously wearing masks the whole time.

It's just a crazy world we're living in right now and adjusting to this new way of learning and being a university student is so different, especially now, because I'd only just got used to what it was like before and then COVID happened.

It was just you're having to get used to a whole new way of living and a whole new way of studying, which I think has been quite hard for a lot of us, but it's just something we had to adjust to very quickly.

I think we've all done really well in adjusting to that.

8.33 Virtual Elective Placements?

I think just having the right support system around you helps so much.

Now, one of the big things that actually breaks my heart that has changed being a nursing student for me, is that second year was supposed to be the year that we could do our elective placement.

Me and my friends wanted to go abroad for four weeks and do our placement in another country.

But obviously, we can't do that anymore, because pretty much every country is on the quarantine list.

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What do YOU think?

Let me know your thoughts in the Comments & click Like!

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And obviously, some countries are a lot higher risk than others and getting on a plane and going away for four weeks, you don't know what can happen in four weeks.

You might get stranded if there's another lockdown.

Everything is just so up in the air, you can't plan in advance.

So not going to be able to do that.

And there's no time to do it in third year.

So I'm really bummed about that, because before I started the course, that was something that I really, really wanted to do, which is a shame.

But obviously there's more important things going on at the moment.

People are going to get the opportunity to do an elective nationally or virtually, I think.

I don't know how that's going to work, but I'm just going to do another regular placement, because I don't want all the stress and the hustle of having to organize something that might not even work.

Other than that, I think everything else is the same in first year, all of my exams were supposed to be online other than the OSCE anyway, so that wasn't very different.

9.52 The ‘Student Lifestyle’ Is Now Very Different

It is just really hard to adjust to online learning and to adjust to the new way of living socially as well.

I know even if you're not a student and the whole social distancing thing and the limits to six people, when you go out and the curfew, it's all very limiting, which is hard as a student, because you want to be able to go out and meet new people.

You want to be able to party and just enjoy yourself and enjoy this new stage in your life.

But obviously, that's not normal at the moment.

Nothing is normal at the moment.

We just have to persevere.

We're all in the same boat.

Every Student Nurse at the moment is in the same boat.

It is a struggle, I think it's a much harder struggle than a normal uni student, because we're juggling adjusting to this new COVID uni life and also adjusting to COVID placement life and juggling both.

It's all very emotionally draining as well.

It can be quite isolating.

10.48 Look After Yourselves & Each Other

I hope what I've just said has made it clearer to you as to how the pandemic has changed Student Nursing.

I think it also makes it more important for you to look after yourself and to look out for other people, because change is daunting, this type of change, especially, because it's quite a big life change being a full-time student and having your whole routine just shifted and having your expectations flipped as well.

It's a lot to deal with, so just look out for each other, look out for yourself, make sure you're taking care of yourselves and one another, because it's a very scary time.

Corona hasn't disappeared.

I think that's all I really have to say.

I hope that made sense.

I think it was easier for me to talk about the transition and how it was pre-COVID and how it is post-COVID, during COVID, I don't even know.

We're just living in a world of confusion at the moment, but I just hope that everyone stays safe and everyone stays well and as organized they possibly can.

Let me know in the comments your thoughts on Student Nursing and how the pandemic has impacted your student life - let's chat there!

Oh, and please Like this article to let me know you enjoyed it - thank you!

About the author

  • Alexandria Grace
    Student Nurse

I am a Student Nurse specialising in Children’s Nursing, which I have a great passion for. I feel very strongly about equal treatment and care for everyone, as it sets all children and young people up for the best future possible! I create vlogs following my nursing journey and advice videos to help others along their own journeys too

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  • Alexandria Grace
    Student Nurse

About the author

  • Alexandria Grace
    Student Nurse

I am a Student Nurse specialising in Children’s Nursing, which I have a great passion for. I feel very strongly about equal treatment and care for everyone, as it sets all children and young people up for the best future possible! I create vlogs following my nursing journey and advice videos to help others along their own journeys too

  • 2 Comments
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    • Julia Orege 28 days ago
      Julia Orege
    • Julia Orege
      28 days ago

      Alex,you have expressed yourself very well. It must have been tough, and is still tough. Safety first and as a ... read more

    • Zoei Malcolm 28 days ago
      Zoei Malcolm
    • Zoei Malcolm
      28 days ago

      Try qualifying during that period of time