VALENCIA, Calif. – Testing people during a pandemic is not what Laura Pearson expected to be doing.
In about a month she will graduate from the Nursing program at College of the Canyons in Valencia but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“This is something we have never endured in our lifetime and it’s nice to be a part of it, I look forward to telling my grandkids that I was on the front lines testing for the COVID Pandemic,” said Pearson.
Pearson is already a Licensed Vocational Nurse, but decided to go back to school to become a Registered Nurse. Then just months before graduation the pandemic hit. Now she is finishing the program from home online via zoom classes.
“I think it’s been an amazing yet stressful way to learn,” said Pearson.
She has got learning from home down, even posting reminders in her living room to help her with the NCLEX Exam, which is a national exam for the licensing of nurses.
One of the challenges for these nursing students is completing clinical hours needed to graduate. Currently, students need 230 clinical hours in their last semester. In a typical year 75-percent or more would have to be direct patient care, but because of restrictions in hospitals due to COVID-19, the California Board of Registered Nursing is now accepting that 50-percent or more of those hours be direct patient care.
“It’s definitely been very challenging but it’s also been really exciting to see how the students have really come together and the faculty to come up with creative solutions and to make sure that they meet all of their hours so they can either graduate or progress into the next course,” said nursing professor Dr. Tina Rorick.
Helping with COVID-19 testing is one way students are getting those needed hours. Despite the challenges for this year’s graduating class of nurses from COC students like Pearson say they just want to be out there, helping.