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Nursing program continues through COVID-19 pandemic

Lathrop Hall is the home of the nursing program at SUNY Brockport, which will also host students in the MSAT program. (Photo credit: Paul Cifonelli)

By Paul Cifonelli / Co-Editor-in-Chief

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, many SUNY Brockport students had to learn in a different way than they were used to. Professors were also forced to adapt their teaching styles and adjust to not being able to teach face-to-face. This affected the entire campus, but the nursing program had to make major adjustments when the school shut down in March. 

One challenge staff and students in the program faced was how to have labs remotelyDr. Kathleen Peterson, the chair of the nursing department at Brockport, made sure she and her staff changed their content to continue to engage students as if they were in classes like normal. 

“When we went remote in March, faculty were very creative in coming up with meaningful virtual clinical, which really pushed critical thinking and critical decision making,” Peterson said. “Our lab staff actually videotaped labs and videotaped simulations, then students had to watch those.” 

The atrium in Lathrop Hall is immediately inside the front doors. (Photo credit: Paul Cifonelli)

These changes were temporary, as labs were able to continue like normal, with some stipulations, in July. In order to do so, there were new protocols and procedures that needed to be followed. Otherwise, the lab experience has been mostly back to normal since the resumption of in-person classes in Lathrop Hall. 

“The only thing that’s changed in our labs is that we’ve had to limit the number of people in a room to 50% capacity and [the students] have to wear masks and shields,” Peterson said. “Our labs have really not changed since we’ve been back on campus. 

To get back on campus earlier than the rest of the student body, the program needed to develop a way of ensuring COVID-19 wasn’t spread during the summer classes. 

“The college wasn’t supposed to have students on campus at all over the summer and we put together policies and procedures for cleaning and got approval, not only from our campus, but from the SUNY Provost, to have our students here on campus,” Peterson said. “That was good for the college because we could be the guinea pigs to see how the cleaning went and how the tracker went.” 

As for the students who are taking the classes, they have adjusted to learning online. Meggie Lurz, a senior in the nursing program, credits her professors for helping her and her fellow students through the transition. 

“At first it was a little difficult and we did miss out on a few months of clinical,” Lurz said. “Our professors are so amazing and worked incredibly hard to help us get the best learning experience we could despite the circumstances. I honestly don’t think it has hindered my learning much because our professors have done a great job giving us as many resources as possible.” 

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