By: Bianca Viana
The spring semester was one that heavily impacted the lives of many nursing students, especially seniors, as the university closed down campus and became completely remote in response to the covid-19 pandemic. For the 34 percent of Adelphi students who are nursing majors, making the switch to remote learning was a disruption, given that many were in their final semester of clinicals—a series of supervised interactions with patients in local healthcare facilities—right before graduation.
Adelphi’s nursing program was never designed to be remote, given that starting junior year, nursing students are taking clinical courses in hospitals. Clinicals are a vital part of every nursing student’s career because they provide important insight and practice that may help to improve patient care in the future. To find out how the situation impacted our students, The Delphian spoke with two recent graduates of the nursing program, Emily Mienko, BSN’20, RN, and Kelly Messmer, BSN’20, RN.
Kelly Messmer '20 BSN, RN, graduated from the
Adelphi School of Nursing and Public Health this
past spring. She is pursuing a nursing position in
“I really feel like Adelphi tried their best given the circumstances,” Mienko said. “I was lucky because I was actually able to finish my Med Surg 2 clinical given that I was in a Sunday group.”
However, she said she was not able to complete her Capstone, a thesis regarding research on a variety of topics related to the nursing field, and instead had to write a paper in its place.
Messmer said that Adelphi tried the best that they could to help senior nursing students, but she was disappointed when it came to preparation for the NCLEX or the National Council Licensure Examination, a nationwide examination for the licensing of nurses in the United States. Nursing students spend four years preparing for it and usually take the NCLEX approximately 45 days after receiving their Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
“I feel that I was very lost while preparing for the NCLEX,” Messmer said. “I feel even more lost trying to get a job now that I no longer have my original job offer [from clinicals anymore due to Covid-19].”
Not only do the NCLEX scores help graduates to get a job, clinicals also help them to receive job offers that tend to be dependent on passing their NCLEX. Due to Covid-19, test dates became very limited as did finding testing sites in-state.
“When I first got my authorization [to take the NCLEX] originally there was no availability in New York State until late September and early October,” Mienko said. “I decided to take my NCLEX out of state in Pennsylvania in August. However, then New York added more dates, so I was able to take it mid-July on Long Island.”
Mienko said that test accommodations were made as a result of the pandemic. The total test time was shortened from six to four hours and the number of questions was reduced to 60 to 130 from 75 to 265.
“They also required everyone to wear a mask and test-takers were spread out every other seat,” she said, adding that she passed the test.
Messmer had a similar problem getting a free test date, initially learning that she couldn’t take the test until October. But by checking the site daily, she was able to snag a July date.
"But I had a job offer that was given to me Emily Mienko '20 BSN, RN, also graduated
last summer that was unfortunately taken from the Adelphi School of Nursing and Public
away due to COVID," she said. "And finding Health this past spring. She is hoping to
jobs is extremely hard because the census become a labor and delivery nurse.
of patients has dropped in some hospitals, and so hospitals won’t hire nurses because they don’t need us.”
Kelly Nicholson, coordinator of Quality Assessment, Regulatory Affairs and Alumni Outreach for the College of Nursing and Public Health (CNPH), said there was not much Adelphi could do to help their graduates find NCLEX testing dates, which was beyond their control.
“Many students had difficulty finding dates and sites due to the pandemic,” said Nicholson. “Unfortunately [the National College of State Boards of Nursing] (NCSBN) was not forthcoming with information such as when new dates and times or even where testing sites would be available.”
When the CNPH received information from NCSBN, they forwarded it to the students via email. In addition, they communicated with students one-on-one. But the delayed NCLEX tests also affected the job search for recent nursing graduates.
Even so, Caitlin McElroy, the special assistant to the dean in the College of Nursing and Public Health, said there has been a high demand for hiring recent nursing graduates. “Since about mid-March, we have had major healthcare networks and institutions reach out about hiring our nursing grads constantly.”
She said that current nursing students were in a high demand for hiring during the height of the pandemic, with many of them serving the community as Certified Nursing Assistants.
But for students like Messmer, for whom testing delays led to her job offer being rescinded, McElroy explained: “The healthcare hiring demands during a pandemic are such that at times you might get periods of major bumps in staffing and other times, it might be a little bit slower during less chaotic periods.”
She added: “In our recent experience, we have seen a major jump in our graduates being hired for full-time positions immediately after graduation.”
With the pandemic still a pressing concern, and the anticipation of a second wave, the demand for nurses will increase. Adelphi is doing the best they can to connect with their health partners to offer opportunities to nursing students.
McElroy said, “The job outreach from our major clinical partnership providers like Northwell Health [are] continuing as the Office of Career Services and Development is hosting a recruitment event in a few weeks specifically looking to hire Adelphi nursing graduates.”