Nursing Students Today, Frontline Workers Tomorrow

BROCKPORT, N.Y. — In a typical year, nursing students would be preparing to graduate and studying for the National Council Licensure Exam. But this is not a typical year. 

When Courtney Franz, 21, entered Brockport as a freshman, she never imagined the hardships she would face from the pandemic. Though the adjustment to online learning has been difficult for everyone, it has posed unique difficulties for nursing students.

“A majority of the learning that we do is done through lab work and hands-on learning. In lab, we would use the mannequins for simulations, and then we had to do it all online. It was really difficult to learn by watching a video rather than doing it in person,” said Franz.

Courtney Franz ready to go to the Strong Memorial hospital to work on completing her capstone hours. 

Franz said that she was not able to complete her clinical hours at the hospital due to the pandemic. This was a very unique situation for the nursing department to configure. 

“There has never really been a situation where the entire program was not able to complete their clinical hours. The nursing department compromised and we completed online clinical hours through virtual scenarios where we completed stuff that we will likely see as a future nurse,” said Franz. 

Krista Statt, 21, shares similar opinions to Franz. Statt additionally said that it was incredibly stressful to be inside the hospital when the pandemic first hit. 

“At first we were all really scared and thought we were going to die. Seriously though. No one knew what COVID truly was, and so many people started getting so sick so rapidly. It was crazy to see the pandemic from a different perspective,” said Statt. 

Krista Statt and Courtney Franz with their clinical group in March 2020.

The pandemic made Statt and Franz reflect on the adversity, commitment, and strength that it takes to be a nurse. Throughout the past 13 months, 2.93 million people have lost their lives from COVID-19. Franz and Statt want to do anything they can to help save lives and keep the community healthy.

“Both of us have known people who lost the fight to COVID-19, and it has really made me realize why I wanted to become a nurse in the first place. I can’t wait to contribute as much as I can,” said Franz. 

Nursing students who are in the class of 2022 face similar but different hardships from the class of 2021. 

“We weren’t able to do anything in person our first semester in the nursing program. This fall was our first time we were going to be able to lab work simulations and clinical hours. You really learn a lot of crucial content in the first semester so it was really important that I buckled down just as much as I normally would with in-person learning,” said Ellen Walpole, 20. 

Nursing students of SUNY Brockport performing a simulation. Picture credited to the SUNY Brockport academic page. 

As the semester is coming to an end, Statt and Franz are beginning to prepare for the National Council Licensure Exam, or the N-CLEX. This exam determines if you are capable of being a practicing nurse. 

“After graduating, I plan to study for weeks upon weeks for the N-CLEX and eventually pass that exam! Then I’ll likely start hunting for jobs in the Rochester area, which is super exciting,” said Krista Statt.

Senior Courtney Franz plans to pass her N-CLEX exam this summer and plans to find a nursing position in the Binghamton area.

It is a scary time to be entering the healthcare world, especially when it is your first year on the job. However, the graduating nursing students at SUNY Brockport are more than prepared to join the fight against COVID-19. 



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