COVID-19 Changes Nurse Education, Confidence

We asked our audience about how the COVID-19 pandemic changed nursing school. Here’s what some of them had to say.

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has not only changed the way that health care providers operate, but also how the next generation of nurses are learning.

Oncology Nursing News recently polled our audience, and two thirds (66%) of respondents said that nursing education — be it for advanced degrees or RN/BSN programs – was shifted online as a result of the pandemic. The same amount reported that their hands-on learning and planned clinical experiences were also affected.

“My clinical rotation in spring was cancelled due to stay home. Some in-person, hands-on skills labs were also cancelled (e.g. suturing). All theory classes that were supposed to have great guest lecturers are cancelled,” said Trysari, a master’s student at UCLA.

Trysari also mentioned that online-based classes feel less engaging and personable. Not to mention, there may be an abundance of distractions that come with home-based, online learning.

Other nurses said that they faced delays in receiving their clinical rotation assignments, while others had them put completely on hold. For example, Cindy, who is pursuing her DNP degree at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, said that her learning at a skilled nursing facility was stopped due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Notably, not all schools in the United States have switched to online learning. Another survey respondent, Erin, is pursuing her MSN-FNP degree at Chamberlain University. She said that while the class format has not changed, the pandemic has affected her schedule, giving her less time to focus on her studies.

“Changes in schooling have not [affected my confidence in the profession]. Changes in my ability to commit the proper time to school has decreased my confidence in how much I am retaining. I withdrew from my last class because of it,” she said.

Despite these changes, half of the nurses surveyed said that the changes in learning methods have not impacted their feelings of career readiness or confidence.

More on nursing school during the pandemic:

  • Forged Through Fire: Nurses Are More Needed Than Ever Before
  • On Clinicals and Coronavirus: COVID-19 Pandemic Shakes Up Nursing Education