Clinical hours helped third-year nursing student Emily Van Pyrz maintain a sense of normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Though there were added safety measures of daily temperature checks, symptom screenings and verification stickers every time she entered a hospital, it was business as usual.
After the medical ICU where Van Pyrz and her peers were supposed to conduct critical care rotations converted to a COVID-19 unit during the pandemic, students completed hours at Seidman Cancer Center and the Trauma ICU at University Hospitals.
“We were the first CWRU students to experience the Trauma ICU. It was an incredible experience that I otherwise never would have had any other year. In fact, I now want to go into trauma nursing,” she said.
Seeing the effects of the pandemic firsthand cemented Van Pyrz’s passion for her profession.
“The number of times I heard a nurse say that they would pick up an extra shift to help out their overworked colleagues was astronomical,” she said. “The Nursing Code of Ethics says the nurses’ primary commitment is to the patient. It’s one thing for me to learn that in class, and another to see it in the selfless acts of those who knowingly put themselves in harm’s way everyday.”