UWEC nursing graduates uniquely shaped by pandemic challenges | Education


CLEAR WATER (WQOW) — The UW-Eau Claire nursing class of 2022 is preparing to be pinned, graduate, and enter the workforce, but the medical profession isn’t the same as the one they originally enrolled in .

“We do a lot of support and training for the clinical setting, which has changed,” said Dr. Meg Lagunas, director of the program’s critical learning center. “So thinking about how we can increase the number of students using the lab, but doing it safely has been a fun challenge.

The foundation of nursing students’ practical skills is formed in their simulation lab, where learning from courses and textbooks is put to the test. Students had to rely much more on virtual learning during these studies, and time spent in the lab was also limited.

“It’s been a bit stressful at times, because these are your real situations, where you come in, you have to assess your patients, which our patients are models here,” Class of 2022 member Ellie Decker said of the importance from the simulation laboratory.

In the lab, students can simulate a wide range of wound treatments and other procedures that they will routinely perform in their nursing careers. To meet the challenges of the pandemic. students were able to rotate through the lab in small groups and pass on their work to their classmates, making this group pioneers in nursing education.

“It’s probably going to be a permanent change in nursing education, it’s that value of simulation and how we can use simulation to prepare our students for wherever they end up,” Lagunas said.

In recent years, many of the 69 new nurses trained between the UWEC campus and their Marshfield extension have previously worked as CNAs or in other frontline healthcare roles. Despite the waste of hands-on time in academia, they have real-world experience.

“People can have confidence knowing that yes, we did it. [some of] our schooling online, but we were also there when the pandemic was at its height,” said Zach Scharenbrock, another member of the promotion.

The nurses’ pinning ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 21 at 11:15 a.m. at Schofield Hall and their start will be at 5:30 p.m. at Zorn Arena.

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