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School is cancelled but clinical is not? (COVID-19)

Posted

Has 5 years experience.

Just wondering how many other students have classes cancelled (or switched to distance learning over the computer) but still have to go to clinical? I'm wondering if this could be a liability. The hospital says no non-essential personnel but we still have to come to clinical! Also some hospitals are even cancelling elective surgeries. I have really bad health insurance and can't afford getting sick. Wondering if anyone else has concerns or in the same boat.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

You mentioned in a comment in another thread that you are an SRNA. Here's my personal thoughts on being in periop during the pandemic:

  • This doesn't appear to be anything that can be treated by surgery. Unless it's something that absolutely needs to be done (thinking something like appendicitis- we've had that happen with a patient who couldn't wait and be tuned up with an infectious disease), the surgery is going to be postponed for patients showing signs of respiratory illness.
  • Even those patients who are going to need surgery are going to get screened prior to coming in the doors of the OR- many facilities are now screening all patients with a questionnaire and taking precautions as necessary as they come in the door of the building.
  • The reason elective surgeries are being cancelled tend to be more related to supply shortages than anything else. Many restocks are being put on allocation, meaning the facility will not receive more than they ordered previously, even if case volumes have gone up. If I ordered 50 sterile gowns last month, I get 50 sterile gowns this month regardless of having 35 surgeries scheduled last month and 50 scheduled this month, meaning I need more supplies for this month than I did last month.
  • They are also preserving supplies that are beyond allocation and into backorders- we're looking at late Summer for some of our specialty supplies to be available.

Is it impossible that you'd see a Covid-19 patient? No, it's not outside the realm of possibility. However, the CDC has put out recommendations of how health care personnel should protect themselves, so take a deep breath, stay educated, and follow the recommendations as well as policies and procedures at the facility.

Remember, you still have to complete a set number of clinical hours in order to fulfill your program's requirements, corona virus or not. If schools canceled clinical (or if clinical sites canceled them, for that matter) then those students would be forced to either retake the entire semester or finish the semester with an incomplete and fulfill their clinical requirements via Summer externships. I'm not sure what it's like in your area, but in mine there are simply not enough slots in order to accommodate an entire cohort repeating a semester, and it would likely be nearly as difficult to fit everyone in over the Summer.

Also, something else to think about - we work with people who have C. diff., TB, and MRSA, among others. Why would it be okay for us to work with these patients but not those infected with COVID-19? If you practice safe hand hygiene and properly don all necessary PPE you have nothing to worry about. And in the future, when even scarier pandemics occur, you'll be expected to be working right in the thick of it then, too. Consider this real-world practice!

In our school, classes are offline for the rest of March (at least), but clinicals are ongoing. We are not allowed to treat anyone with Covid-19 however. A couple of clinical sites have cancelled... I really hope no more do! As the poster above me mentioned, it would be really challenging to make up the clinical hours.

I'm just posting to follow this thread. I've been keeping up with this virus.

But since I'm here, it's interesting clinicals aren't cancelled but school is. What's the rationale the schools are giving for this?

11 minutes ago, NurseBlaq said:

I'm just posting to follow this thread. I've been keeping up with this virus.

But since I'm here, it's interesting clinicals aren't cancelled but school is. What's the rationale the schools are giving for this?

I think it's primarily due to a combination of needing to satisfy the clinical component for the program while also dealing with very limited number clinical spots. I live near the largest and most advanced hospital in the state, so naturally there are numerous schools who use it as a clinical site. Competition for spots is already incredibly high, now imagine having to squeeze everyone in over the Summer or having to double the spots needed in the fall by holding everyone back a semester. There really isn't a viable alternative.

That being said, I still haven't heard what my school's solution is regarding clinical, but I'm hoping they'll continue as scheduled.

58 minutes ago, YouCanCallMeFrank said:

combination of needing to satisfy the clinical component for the program while also dealing with very limited number clinical spots.

THIS

ninjanurse01, BSN, RN, EMT-B

Specializes in neuro ICU.

BSN student here. Classes and clinicals have been cancelled for me for at least 3 weeks (who knows what they will decide after that). I'm really nervous we won't be able to graduate on time since we are missing so many clinicals. We have 3 clinical days a week right so that's going to be really hard to reschedule.

DowntheRiver

Specializes in Urgent Care, Oncology. Has 7 years experience.

My clinical were cancelled because my site decided they no longer wanted students through the end of April. I'm lucky I'm just a MSN ED student because you really can move a lot of that stuff online without it really hindering the quality of education. Since my program is already online it was an easy transition. I'm in a different state than where my program is based and both our states are heavily affected by the corona virus so the instructors are very understanding and helpful regarding how everything will work out.

verene, MSN

Specializes in mental health / psychiatic nursing.

On 3/12/2020 at 4:02 PM, nurseann11 said:

The hospital says no non-essential personnel but we still have to come to clinical!

I'd clarify that you actually have to go to clinical and/or that hospital would allow you if you show up. When I did my nursing clinicals our local hospitals went to "Essential personal only" due to weather event (major blizzard) - students were not expected to show up and would be turned away if they did. Our school arranged make-up days at end of term.

Currently the hospital I work at is on "Essential staff only" and will turn away any non-essential staff, volunteers, and students who attempt to enter building.

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

On 3/12/2020 at 8:52 PM, NurseBlaq said:

But since I'm here, it's interesting clinicals aren't cancelled but school is. What's the rationale the schools are giving for this?

Classes can be done online, clinicals can't. Most schools haven't actually 'cancelled' classes, they've just moved them all online. I'm sure that if it were possible to do clinicals online, too, that's what schools would be doing. I've heard that some schools have considered trying 'online clinicals,' but that's obviously not an adequate substitute for actual clinical experience.

Even if you 'cancel' in-person classes and move them online, students can still complete the class and finish their semester/graduate on time. However, if you absolutely have to cancel clinicals, then it may push back course sequencing, graduation, etc. especially because there's such a shortage of clinical sites, as @YouCanCallMeFrank explained.

Edited by adventure_rn

It's no different from when you become an RN, because you will be expected to show up to work in most cases whether the schools close or daycares close. Nurses signed up to put themselves on the front line to care for people. It's part of our job. Wash your hands and follow safety measures at the clinical site as you would if you were working as a nurse.

Would be helpful if people stated what school they go to. I'm at Vanderbilt MSN NP program. Clinicals have been shut down for 2 weeks, but likely longer. Anyone else?

Like others have said, my hospital wouldn't even allow you in as a student if you showed up.

I'm talking about outpatient clinics, not just hospitals... working in family medicine, women's health NP clinicals

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

1 hour ago, m1161 said:

Would be helpful if people stated what school they go to.

A lot of people aren’t going to do that because it eliminates the anonymity they have here.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education. Has 16 years experience.

We just kicked all students out. No matter what kind of student. Med, NP, CRNA, RN, ST, etc.

Kitiger, RN

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 40 years experience.

On ‎3‎/‎12‎/‎2020 at 7:40 PM, YouCanCallMeFrank said:

Also, something else to think about - we work with people who have C. diff., TB, and MRSA, among others. Why would it be okay for us to work with these patients but not those infected with COVID-19? If you practice safe hand hygiene and properly don all necessary PPE you have nothing to worry about.

And right there is the problem; we don't have enough PPE.