Future nurse navigates COVID-19

Student identifies the old and new amidst a shifting medical landscape

written by: josephine pyles, guest writer
Photo courtesy of Xavier.edu
Jaylen Stackhouse explains how nursing program has changed and stayed the same during a global pandemic

According to the nursing majors here at Xavier, their studies are teaching them all about new ways to help people, especially in the midst of the pandemic.  

With their blue scrubs and crunch for time, it’s hard to miss nursing majors passing from class to class or making the infamous hike to the Cohen Center. 

Despite her busy schedule, senior nursing major Jalyn Stackhouse shared her perspective. 

“The greatest challenge school-wise would definitely be the classes. They really push you mentally and you have to be on top of everything,” Stackhouse said.  

Nursing majors stay busy. They begin working with patients in the clinic as early as their second year, which can be lot of pressure. 

“The most challenging aspect of clinicals is definitely being open to learning new things, even if they seem scary,” she said. “But being able to meet different patients and help them feel better is worth it.” As a fourth-year, Stackhouse says that she works in the clinic once per week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

“I love doing clinicals at UC Health West Chester hospital,” she said, “I’ve met so many amazing nurses and people there.” 

Stackhouse said that her hospital has been very diligent about enforcing the new COVID-19 protocols. 

“Even to get into the hospital, everyone has to wear a mask,” Stackhouse said. “And usually temperatures are taken before you walk past the front desk.” 

Stackhouse then discussed how COVID-19 protocols have changed the way she cares for patients. 

“Nursing students are prohibited from caring for COVID patients,” Stackhouse said. “But we have to wear a mask, goggles and face shield at all times with every patient.” 

Despite these protocols, the way students care for their patients hasn’t necessarily changed. 

Nursing students have still been able to provide exceptional care to their patients with new safety measures to protect the community, 

“Nothing really changed in the clinical setting as far as care, just how we protect ourselves,” Stackhouse said. 

Although things have changed, nurses students have been getting through this difficult time is supporting one another. 

“We really just try to find stuff to do on the floor to help any of the nurses,” Stackhouse said. “Some patients may have testing or procedures, so we go with them to help each other out.” 

Today’s nurses are adapting to many changes as the pandemic evolves, but keeping a positive attitude has been the biggest inspiration for Stackhouse. 

“You have to stay optimistic,” she said. “It reminds us of our purpose. And it reminds patients that we’ll always be there to help.”