Athough it has been a challenging and stressful year for nursing students at Champlain College Lennoxville, Program Coordinator Heather Bilkes noticed many students have developed a greater appreciation for the profession since the pandemic.
“I find since Covid, we’re having more of those, not necessarily in the class discussions, but before class, after class, in lab, those kinds of discussions about how tough it is, but how meaningful it is, and I think that’s been a wonderful thing for me to be a part of,” she said.
But Bilkes also noted that stress management was a major concern among students. There were a lot of Covid-related absences, she explained, adding it affected every program. It created a lot of anxiety within the student population, she continued, as they fell behind.
Whenever a student tested positive, they were forced to quarantine, at one point in the province, for at least 10 days. They were sidelined from in-class activities, labs, and invaluable hospital experience. There was anxiety among teachers, too, as they also played catch up.
And there was added pressure on what Bilkes called the confinement students — those who were already in the nursing program, or in high school, when the Quebec government instituted a lockdown. It was also difficult for the second year students transitioning into their final year.