Undergraduate Nursing Students: COVID-19 Decisions (3-18-20)

Dear Students and Parents,

The School of Nursing (SON) cares deeply about your health and wellbeing and is committed to supporting you in this time of uncertainty. As nurses, we play a leading role in reducing confusion, correcting the flow of misinformation, and providing healthcare. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) states that during this crisis, “Student nurses are valuable members of the healthcare team and can provide meaningful care,” and “other than limiting direct care of COVID-19 patients, clinical students continue their roles as part of the care team.” You have a critical role to play.

SON clinical placement policies are based on the latest university, state, and federal guidelines. In addition, as approximately 70% of traditional undergraduate nursing students live in university housing, SON has discontinued on-campus skills and simulation labs. To balance this change, we have expanded the use of online resources and virtual-reality modules for teaching clinical care. All didactic courses and Health Assessment labs will continue online as of March 22, and students will be able to complete them as scheduled. Faculty and staff will assist you by clearly communicating course expectations via email and through Canvas.

We are in close communication with the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN). Currently, there are no changes to BRN’s 75% direct patient care clinical hours licensure requirements. We anticipate that students scheduled to graduate in May have met, or even exceeded, the direct patient care requirements. We will provide additional clinical opportunities at a later date consistent with program and BRN requirements for continuing students.

Traditional undergraduate students, who elect to continue their clinical placement (pending facility availability), may do so on a voluntary basis. These clinical hours will count toward the necessary BRN direct patient care requirement. Please contact your department chair, if you wish to take advantage of this option and fill out the university request for continued housing if needed.

The SON is actively monitoring COVID-19 directives and relies on guidance from the CDC, WHO, and local health authorities to guide our decisions. This is an unprecedented situation, and we appreciate your willingness to adapt as we work to maintain your educational program and the health of the broader community. Thank you in advance for your continued support during this challenging period.

I pray that you and your loved ones maintain good health.

Blessings,

Aja Tulleners Lesh, PhD, RN, Dean, School of Nursing