Junior nursing students this semester face a new challenge as their typically scheduled clinical for this semester was canceled.

Earlier this year, the Sunshine Health and Rehab facility in Spokane experienced a coronavirus outbreak, leading to the cancellation of the geriatric clinicals for nine-semester nursing students in the spring.

“They were hit really hard by it, and they didn’t want the potential to bring in other covid cases,” said Gabby Graves, a junior nursing student. “They’ve been struggling to not have COVID in the facility.”

Nursing students at Gonzaga University are split into two different cohorts. Students who don’t have extra academics, such as double-majors or plans to study abroad, are placed in the eight-semester track. Those with additional studies are placed in the nine-semester track and graduate a semester later.

“First semester is geriatrics, but it’s also pediatrics, so typically we’d also go into local Catholic schools and do health screenings there, like their hearing, test their vision, their blood pressure, all their vitals to make sure they’re okay," Graves said. "For geriatrics, we’d go to the assisted-living facility. Also, you’d typically go to Catholic Charities, which is the homeless shelter here, and you’d also do health screenings at Catholic Charities.”

The pediatric clinicals this semester are limited to 

one school, and plans to assist the school are currently 

up in the air.

At the geriatric clinicals, nursing students would get valuable hands-on experience. They’d typically shadow nurses and get experience learning how to administer medicine, change sheets, etc.

In response to the lack of the geriatric clinicals, the nursing department has scheduled a vaccine clinical at the Spokane Veteran's Affair Hospital for junior nine-semester nurses.

“We’re going to be administering COVID vaccines through the Spokane Veteran’s Hospital, so that’s just what came out so that’s super exciting,” junior Alison Gentzen said.

Even though the cancellation has set back current junior nine-semester nursing students, there will be opportunities down the road to catch up.

“Honestly, because it’s only our first semester, we’re going to catch up on these skills when we go into later semester clinical rotations,” Gentzen said. “When we go to [Medical Surgical Units] for example, the things we’d be practicing in the geriatric facilities like taking blood pressure, changing sheets and moving patients, we’d get that experience later. It’s just going to be more of a shock because they’re going to be teaching us more advanced stuff while we’re still learning the basics.”

Alexander Prevost is a staff writer. Follow him on Twitter @alexanderprvst.

Alexander Prevost is a staff writer for the Gonzaga Bulletin. He is passionate about writing, politics, and music.

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