VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Nursing students have been balancing academics and working the pandemic front lines.
The great need for help shows how important their role will be upon graduation.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been fearful working through the pandemic, I think, like I said earlier, it’s been a challenge, but what’s life without a challenge? Challenges are meant to grow us and so I think it’s helped us to become better nurses in the long run I believe,” said Meredith Shaw, a nursing student at Valdosta State University (VSU).
In a time of need, student nurses stepped up to help serve the community.
Shaw and Anais Hall-Garrison are seniors at Valdosta State University.
Both began their clinical experience as juniors a few months before the pandemic.
“Pressure makes coal turn into diamond and we are able to shine through the pandemic. For me personally, I was anxious, I was like ‘okay come on let me go ahead and get in there because I know they really need help,” said Hall-Garrison.
Hall-Garrison left her teaching career and pursued nursing after seeing students with health issues.
She wanted to do something about it and help.
Shaw said she knew nursing was her calling. She also has family and friends in the field.
“I think it’s so cool that we get to play such a small part in the community, but in reality, it’s a huge part,” said Shaw.
The two say working through the pandemic has given them great insight.
They say balancing clinicals and classwork hasn’t been easy, but the knowledge they’ve gained will benefit them in the long-run.
The experience is a bonus when they apply for jobs after graduation.
“If I get one more person to smile, and that was critical before the pandemic but definitely during the pandemic, just to get one more person to smile,” said Hall-Garrison.
Nursing students have been helping at South Georgia Medical Center’s (SGMC) vaccination site and other community projects. That includes helping immigrant workers and minorities.
Students said they’ve built a support group via group chat.
“Just doing those little messages, throughout the day and through the morning. Being like ‘Hey, you know we are going to make it today.’ Just encouragement. You know I appreciate you for that,” said Hall-Garrison.
The two students said they’re ready to transition into RN’s and plan to work at SGMC after graduation.