Nursing education during a pandemic: Perspectives of students and faculty

Cheryle Levitt, Marguerite Goulet, Jamie Murphy, Rebecca Norman-Eck, Ami Bhatt


Purpose: Nurses working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic have experienced a combination of physical, psychological, logistical, professional, and personal challenges. Those nurses enrolled in baccalaureate and graduate nursing degree programs were affected significantly in their ability to remain focused on meeting course expectations while contending with pandemic-induced challenges. Nursing faculty in a public state-based university school of nursing in upstate New York responded by developing initiatives to support students and foster their success.

Results: Supported by unsolicited anecdotal reports, this article describes the experiences and perspectives of nurses in clinical roles working in a pandemic epicenter, while simultaneously completing nursing degree programs. Students were confronted by professional and personal stressors that challenged their ability to manage multiple responsibilities. Faculty supported students with intensive caring and communication, and by selective strategic policy and pedagogical adaptations, while adhering to and preserving program integrity and standards.  These four distinct efforts supported student retention and success, and created opportunities for faculty dialogue, assessment, and reflection upon the nature of the changes and plans for future implementation. Self-care was identified as an important coping strategy for both students and faculty.

Conclusions: Faculty believe the four-pronged approach enabled students to succeed in their programs of study and feel supported as individuals and professionals.  Despite the continuing global health crisis, there have been numerous positive outcomes and lessons learned by both students and faculty while learning and teaching during the pandemic, with implications for future curricular and pedagogical approaches.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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