WKU outlines how coronavirus changes will affect nursing majors

Bowling Green graduate student Emily Burns prepares to get a flu shot from nurse Chandra Ellis-Griffith at the academic complex on Jan. 30. Free flu shots were offered in the academic complex by the WKU Institute for Rural Health.

Nick Kieser

No WKU nursing student will be assigned to any known or believed cases of the coronavirus, according to an update from the Director of the School of Nursing and Allied Health, Dr. Mary Bennett, outlining how the coronavirus will affect nursing majors at the university. 

Bennett initially expressed the safety of the students was the number one concern. Students who are allowed to go to clinical sites are required to follow the guidelines set by each individual site. 

Students will only be allowed to assist the nursing personnel with any other functions that do not relate to the infectious coronavirus. 

Students are to communicate with the nursing faculty if they are ill-prepared to care for a patient. The student will be reassigned to a patient that can be properly cared for. 

No WKU nursing student may be able to participate in any activity if they are feeling sick or having any symptoms. Two options are available If a student has a special reason for being at an increased risk to get sick because of a medical condition. 

A student can either take a medical withdrawal for the semester or take the incomplete for clinical and or lab courses taken this semester. The missing hours will have to be made up prior to proceeding to the next steps in the nursing curriculum. 

The student who chooses to go this route will be responsible for documentation from a primary care provider as to when it will be appropriate to return back to the clinical setting. The student will need to coordinate with a faculty member to make up the lost hours. 

Any student who is unable to fulfill the clinical or lab hours this semester due to a facility not allowing students to enter or the university not allowing a student to go to clinicals will be given an incomplete as well. 

Bennett also advised the nursing students the nursing department will work with all students to ensure that they can meet the minimum requirements in order to graduate. 

Another additional option is a student can enroll in the next semester of the nursing program, but it may involve summer sessions. Then the incomplete will change to an actual grade. 

As of late hospitals are preparing for a high volume of patients. Some of the planning and preparation includes utilizing nursing students in auxiliary roles as runners, to answer phones, to collect supplies for staff, or to monitor waiting areas, which will allow regular nursing staff to concentrate on patient care. 

The nursing department will continue to allow students to be a part of the health care response team.

Reporter Nick Kieser can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.