This past week marked the beginning of the Class of 2023 nursing students’ clinical experience with the Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies.
Fairfield University’s Egan School of Nursing gives its students theoretical and clinical components. In partnership with local clinical facilities, nursing students are able to participate in practical experiences during their undergraduate time. Clinical experiences begin during the spring semester of nursing students’ sophomore year.
“Clinicals are meant for us to gain experience and a better gist of nursing before we actually enter the field,” Ellie Schmieder ‘23 said. “It’s a part of the nursing school, but we aren’t in the classroom learning — it’s all hands-on.”
Schmieder will be completing the mental health nursing clinical at Yale New Haven Hospital. During this time she will be working on psychiatric floors.
Another aspect of the clinical program is the simulation lab. Nursing students interact with actors who pretend to be patients simulating real-life situations. There is a camera in the room so the clinical group and clinical instructor can watch and give feedback while each nursing student interacts with the “patient.”
“Everybody’s [clinical] is a little different, so after my two-weeks in [simulation], I will go to Stamford Hospital with my clinical instructor and group,” Kieran McAllister ‘23 said.
McAllister will also be completing her mental health nursing clinical.
“I’m super excited to finally get to work with patients and be in a clinical spot,” McAllister said. “Although it is a little nerve-racking going to the hospital, I think sim has definitely made me more confident in my skills and capabilities.”
Anna Mercurio ‘23 is also completing her first clinical rotation at Stamford Hospital; however, she won’t begin until the last six weeks of the semester.
Mercurio is eager to start working with patients, but anxious to see the real pace of work at a hospital.
“I can’t wait to start working with patients, and even though I am a little nervous I feel that the work I have done in my classes up until now has prepared me for my upcoming clinicals,” said Mercurio.
Clinicals beginning for nursing students in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic presents an interesting and unique challenge to the student nurses.
“Clinical for me started this past Friday, but due to a COVID-outbreak at the hospital, it was cancelled,” Schmeider said. “This just means my clinical group will have to reschedule and make up this clinical date we missed.”
Schmeider has also volunteered with other student nurses to oversee the regularly scheduled university-sanctioned testing.
“When I volunteer, I have to make sure that all the faculty and staff are getting tested, know how to properly do it and guide them through it if they need instructions,” Schmeider said. “Our job is to help guide the flow of testing and assist anyone who needs it.”
On top of clinicals beginning for Class of 2023 nursing students, 35 Class of 2021 nursing students will be vaccinating eligible candidates with the Pfizer vaccine.