A Non-Traditional Student Nurse Having a Non-Traditional College Experience During COVID
By: Ruthann “Rudy” Strickland
March 12, 2021
Ruthann "Rudy" Strickland
I remember a few months into the pandemic when someone asked me if the realities of COVID made me rethink my plan of becoming a nurse. I simply replied, "I don't waver." I didn't waver then, and I don't now. Being a nursing student during a pandemic is not an opportunity you can plan for, but it is undoubtedly the experience you train for. So, what does a day in the life of a nursing student during a pandemic look like?
Many things are the same, including hours of reading, homework and studying packed into each week around all your other family obligations, classes, work and self-care. Even though our didactic courses are virtual, I feel fortunate that we have been able to continue our clinicals in person, as experiential learning is crucial to us at this time. We are the future of nursing: not to be protected from its realities, but to be immersed in the environment in which we thrive.
Though clinical now requires additional education, fit testing, screening, and personal protective equipment to get through the front door, inside the hospital is the only place that seems normal to me these days. It's the place where everything else is put aside, and we work, against all odds, for the greater good just as it's intended to be.
This pandemic is the most effective evidence-based practice clinical experience I have ever had the privilege of being a part of, and I am better for it. Being a nursing student has taught me it's not only the knowledge that is important but also how you use that knowledge and how you open yourself to the possibilities of healing through kind and compassionate care.
Ruthann "Rudy" Strickland, a non-traditional student, gave up a successful career in recreation and ski area management to start nursing school. This decision came after caring for her mother for six years until the time of her death. It is through times of grief that one becomes able to focus on what is important.
"Though helping others live their best life is important, you must also remember to live your best life right along with them. Making this career change has afforded me the opportunity to do just that." #BakerProud