Nursing student missing classic senior experiences due to the coronavirus

Lindsay Bertram, Guest Columnist

I remember sitting in my Advanced Concepts class on a normal Monday when my professor started talking about the possibility of campus closing and moving classes online. We all laughed at the thought and just moved with the rest of class.

Nobody thought that my professor was serious, and this was a possibility.

Within the next few days, we had gotten word that UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison had canceled classes. The next week, UWO decided to close, my clinical at Aurora Medical Center Oshkosh was canceled, and I was moving home for the rest of the semester.

In the beginning of quarantine, it was extremely difficult for me to comprehend that this was the end of my classic senior year experience and the start of something I’ve never done before. The transition to online classes was difficult and frustrating.

I was mad that I had my clinical experience taken from me only months before I transition into working as a nurse at a large hospital. For some people, online classes are great because it doesn’t require as much participation and it allows for a lot of downtime.

For nursing students, it means that we don’t get to practice our hands-on skills, our patient communication and the basic components of what it means to be a nurse.

Starting online clinicals, although better than nothing, seemed like a computer game as I administered a patient’s medication by simply pressing a button. It has taken a lot of adjusting and an ungodly amount of emails.

Luckily, I have a great support system and friends that I’ve stayed connected with. Whether we’re complaining about classes, trying to study for our licensure exam over FaceTime, or just catching up, I try to keep in contact with my close friends weekly.

The coronavirus has put a damper on my senior year that I was so looking forward to.

Courtesy of Lindsay Bertram

I miss the time spent with my roommates, even when we were doing nothing.

I miss my morning walks to class and working out at the Rec.

I miss going to Molly’s on a Friday night and getting tacos at two in the morning.

I miss Oshkosh and I haven’t even graduated yet.

It’s sad that I won’t be able to see the people that I’ve had classes with for the past two and a half years anymore, even those that I wasn’t close with.

Despite all of these circumstances, I have been fortunate to have some great experiences come out of the stay at home order. I received a job offer from Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s in Milwaukee and will be starting there after graduation.

I have grown closer with my family as we have adjusted to me living at home after four years away. Also, we have thankfully had our pinning ceremony, a special nursing graduation, rescheduled for August so my cohort can be together one last time.

This wasn’t the senior year that I was expecting, nor the senior year that I wanted; however, I believe that trying to find the silver lining and making the best of the hand you’ve been dealt is crucial in coping with extreme circumstances.