The quality of education and training that Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) students receive prepares them for dealing with the unexpected—and many of our alumni have had to put that to the test.

Right now, whether it’s their first year out in the field or whether they have ten years of nursing experience behind them, our MCN alumni are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. This is the second in a series of stories highlighting the incredible work they are doing.

If you’re an MCN student or alum interested in sharing your story, we’d love to hear from you. You can reach out to us here.

Crystal Bricker, BSN Class of 2010

As a clinical nurse educator, this experience has been stressful for me.

A normal day no longer exists. Instead of the usual tasks of planning staff education, I have been working to help keep practitioners informed about proper PPE usage, conducting re-deployment education for staff being sent to areas outside of the department, and collaborating with other educators to address how to maintain mandatory staff education such as CPR.

What I truly miss most is the students we normally see come through our doors for their clinical experiences. I love bringing them into the operating room, learning about their passion, and sharing with them what OR nursing is like. Before all this, we were expecting many nursing students to come through our department. It makes me sad to know that for some of them this may have been their only chance to experience the operating room in their undergraduate experience.

Many of the staff education events I was excited about planning have been put on hold at this time. We were in the middle of planning a fire safety simulation involving multiple departments that do procedures. I’m not sure when these important events can resume. Meetings that I would normally have attended are either canceled or moved to video or phone.

I help teach the total joint replacement patient education class every Tuesday afternoon. In light of elective procedures not being done, that class has not met. There is a core group of volunteers that help us make sure those attending class get to where they need to be, and they can’t come in either. It has been the highlight of my week to teach that class and see those wonderful volunteers. I miss them and think of them every Tuesday.

It has been stressful to adapt as recommendations change so rapidly as we learn more about this virus. Still, I am so proud of how my colleagues have come together to navigate this storm. I look forward to when this situation becomes a memory we share and not the reality we are living at this time.

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