Edison State nursing graduates overcome COVID challenges, prepare to help nursing shortage

PIQUA — Nursing students from Edison State are ready to help try and ease some of the burden of the nursing shortage due to the ongoing pandemic.

25 students recently graduated from Edison and every single semester of their schooling had different challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first semester, they had to go online and were unable to do clinical hours in nursing homes as they had planned. In fact, the pandemic caused plenty of worries early on.

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“Trying to figure out how to make these clinical hours work for us because we were all scared, are we going to actually graduate with this pandemic going on,” Rayna Brownlee, an Edison graduate from Piqua, said.

Once they got past the initial shock and that hurdle, Brownlee and fellow graduate Dane Rice said they actually were able to get plenty of experience as plans changed.

“When we were at clinicals these nurses would delegate to us and we were actually able to have the best experience in these clinicals,” Brownlee said of the nurse shortage. “It was honestly the best thing for us for learning and the experience as well.”

For all of the graduates, they dealt with the challenges of the pandemic and now go into a field where they know it’s a such a tumultuous time. The past couple of years have not changed their desire to be a nurse.

“Ever since I was little I always wanted to be a nurse,” Brownlee said. “I’ve always wanted to help people, to care for people.”

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“First of all I’m a paramedic, I work for one of the local hospital networks,” Rice said. “Working with some of the fabulous nurses around, I always wanted to be a nurse. As my children have gotten older and life has gone on, it became the right time for me to go.”

Rice said there will always be challenges in healthcare over the course of their careers. He said he has seen several in his decade of being a paramedic. The focus for many of the graduates as they prepare to join area hospitals will be on their “why.” The patients are why they wanted to get into this job in the first place.

“You want to fix them and a lot of time you can’t,” Rice said. “So you have to care for the patient not necessarily take care of the patient’s problems. That’s one of the things I’ve always focused on is just patient care not patient cure. It’s one of the things I’ve said for years. Doctors worry about the cure, we worry about the care.”

The nursing shortage was not a motivating factor for either, but they are happy to now be able to help out and try and ease some of the burden that’s on area nurses right now.

Many of the students know where they are going to be working now that they have graduated. But they will start at different times, some could start work as a nurse as early a couple of weeks.

James Rider

James Rider

I was born in Virginia and have moved several times in my life as a member of an Air Force family. I've lived in Virginia, California, Germany, England, and Ohio. I graduated from Centerville High School and then went on to attend Ball State University where I graduated with a bachelor's degree.