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Nursing Students Worried About Joining Workforce After COVID-19 Cancels Hands-On Learning

Weixiang Ng via Flickr

The COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled in-person classes for universities and public schools in New Mexico, including crucial hands-on learning for nursing students in hospitals. That leaves future nurses feeling ill-prepared to take on the responsibilities of nursing after graduation.

To replace hands-on experiences, nursing programs across the state have moved coursework to online simulations and video lectures. 

Mikayla Hernández-Boyd, a fourth-semester nursing student at the University of New Mexico, said that to really learn, nursing students need to be physically touching patients at the hospital. 

“It’s absolutely terrifying, the fact that I’m going to graduate in August and be trusted with people’s lives as a 21-year-old," said Hernández-Boyd. "If we have to continue this, I’m really apprehensive about being prepared as a nurse after graduation and about passing my boards." 

Hernández-Boyd says she's fortunate to have an internship at UNM Hospital that counts for clinical hours, but she said the other students are stuck doing busywork online and aren't getting much out of it. 

UNM and CNM have not yet cancelled hands-on learning for next semester’s nursing students.


Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and from KUNM listeners like you.

Bryce Dix is our local host for NPR's Morning Edition.
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