National Nursing Week - which runs from May 11-17- is in its finals days of saluting nurses who are working the front lines right now as we battle the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, those up-and-coming nurses are learning to embrace technology to continue with courses at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

The school recently introduced online technology so there would be no delay in graduating nurses while teaching remotely.

“What has been emerging over this past couple months is taking that technology virtually,” said Sandra Blevins, Dean for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“We hadn’t had a lot of experience in that. I think we were starting to use the tools, but we were still very dependent on our labs.”

She said they’ve had a lot of positive feedback from both students and faculty.

Students studying to become Registered Nurses go through an assessment phase called the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Belvins said you know when these exams are taking place on campus because they are very intense and emotions can run high.

Since introducing the new remote technology, Belvins said the students are now feeling more in control during the OSCE and finding it less stressful as they move towards their clinicals.

One of the biggest challenges that they’ve had to adapt to was the fact that on campus a lot of labs used simulations that they now have to do virtually.

Blevins says they have about 300 students in clinicals at the moment. She added that safety has always been the number one priority when they are getting work experience.

“We are not putting our students in the position of caring for COVID positive patients,” Blevins said.

“The primary reason for that is we are just being respectful that PPE, personal protective equipment, that is required is still in very tight supply.”

Blevins went on to say the not delaying the graduation of nurses has become very important as they are in high demand and any delay would be felt quickly within the industry.