by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer
Nursing school has never been easy.
But with canceled clinicals, changing lecture formats and an end to live educational opportunities, nursing students throughout the state are facing what feels like an insurmountable challenge.
Over the last two weeks hospitals across the state have suspended clinical rotations as the Covid-19 pandemic has grown. Likewise, nursing schools have suspended in-person lectures and moved them online.
Exams still loom in the distance and graduations will be impacted.
Increasingly isolated nursing students are expressing fear about what all this means for their future.
Brooke Butcher, RN, MSN has a message for those students who feel abandoned.
“Really, I just want them to know they’re not alone,” Butcher said from home while social distancing with her own two small children as well as her brother’s child. “I know a lot of students come to me and say ‘We’re expected to learn everything on our own and show up for a test.’ That can put people in a tailspin. I thought if I could step in and provide a space where they can get the tools they need, content and resources that’s one less thing they can stress about.”
For nearly two years now the former college nursing professor has helped students online through The Nursing Professor.
Located online at thenursingprofessor.com, Butcher helps nursing students reach their ultimate dream.
Butcher earned her master’s degree in 2011 and began teaching at Oklahoma City Community College.
She worked with the LPN career ladder track for students pursuing their RN. After a year she transitioned to teaching NP4 content.
She stayed until 2015.
She has a varied nursing background. She worked ER, cardiac neuro ICU and in an HIV unit in New York City before coming to Oklahoma Heart Hospital in 2009.
Butcher worked at Oklahoma Heart while she was teaching and taking care of her two young children.
“As a nursing student I could hardly afford a cup of coffee,” she remembered. “I made a mockup of what I wanted to do and unbeknownst to me they posted it on the class Facebook page. Within 24 hours one of the students sent me back all of the names and more than 40 students had asked for this.”
Butcher’s service is more than a data content warehouse. She routinely engages students through Facebook Live Q&A sessions.
It’s these sessions where students can really engage.
The last few days students have reached out to Butcher more often to try to find a way to anchor their education as their worlds change daily.
“A lot of them are wanting lecture-type material since they’re not getting that in the classroom,” Butcher said. “That’s what we offer. With membership we have access to a lot of different videos and PowerPoints that are narrated. They’re getting content just like they would in class but they can watch it at their pace as many times as they need.”
Butcher typically stresses three things to her nursing students:
* Take care of yourself – eating well, exercising and getting adequate sleep are important in nursing school to keep you well and keep your mind sharp.
* Don’t just memorize while in school, learn the material and understand the rationale behind our interventions and the basic pathophysiology behind each disease process, because that is what will help you know what to do when you are face to face with your patient.
* Know your preferred learning style (or how you learn best) and utilize the learning resources that speak to that preferred learning style, as you are far more likely to understand it and remember when you do so.
Community more than content may be the biggest thing Butcher’s site offers right now.
“It’s highly valuable,” she said. “Not only in uncertain times but I think nurses in general we all work as a team when we are in the hospitals and we learn that from a very early setting in nursing school moving into clinicals. It’s really important to be able to reach out to others. I feel like when you’re learning so much new information it’s hard to gauge what you know well and what you don’t and what you need to work on.
“In these chaotic times it’s really nice to have the community there to lean on each other and remember we’re all in this together.”
Butcher stresses that even during this time of chaos students should approach their studies in a systematic manner.
Also, seek out resources that help solidify content.
“So often I feel like most nursing students and other sciences their learning styles are more audio-visual and they need to be finding those resources that speak to that learning style because it’s going to make a greater overall impact,” she said.
You can also find out more about The Nursing Professor on Facebook.