NC nursing school student and staffer talk COVID-19 challenges

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CONCORD, N.C. (WJZY) – There’s a critical need for nurses, and students like Lauren McCoy are ready to put their scrubs and stethoscope to good use.

“Helping patients and seeing how they look at you and everything that I’m learning from them, I just really like that aspect of nursing,” McCoy said.

McCoy, who is located in Charlotte, started nursing school with Northeastern University in May 2020, prepared to take a position on the front lines of the pandemic.

“For me, I kind of saw it like, I need to step up. I need to be here and help these people,” she said.

But clinical training near COVID-19 positive patients quickly turned into a reality check for some of her classmates.

“Being exposed to it, it hits different. So they were like well, I don’t think I’m cut out to be a nurse anymore. So, we had a lot of people quit,” she added.

There are other challenges for students from online instruction like getting questions in during a Zoom session and completing clinical courses amid restrictions of reducing the number of students sent to the hospital.

Dena Evans, director of UNC Charlotte’s School of Nursing says undergrad enrollment is up by double the amount of applications.

Applications are down for their graduate program.

“If you are enrolled in a graduate nursing program you are already a registered nurse and you are out there now working, maybe double shifts,” Evans said.

A job that will one day belong to McCoy, she’s now halfway through her accelerated BSN program and confident she’s on the right path.

“I know this is what I want and I’m going to see it out until the end,” McCoy said.

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